NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 2 – 2015 Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir says the suspension of the three senior Athletics Kenya (AK) officials over anti-doping queries should set the stage for an overhaul of management of the sport in the country.
He said the action by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has vindicated athletes on their claim that the AK had failed in dealing with the vice after accusations surfaced unearthed evidence of a big supply of drugs being provided by a cartel of people.
“Our sport needs a lot of cleaning, our sport needs a lot of new blood and restructuring to make sure we deal with the problems we are facing.
“The old leadership could not deal with the problems and IAAF has done us as Kenyans a favour by showing us what to do and all the retired and current athletes who met in Eldoret over the weekend speak in one voice in saying the old guards needs to leave the field,” he told a news conference held at Parliament Buildings.
IAAF Ethics Commission suspended AK President Isaiah Kiplagat, Vice-President David Okeyo and Eastern Branch chairman, Joseph Kinyua for 180 days to pave way for investigations of graft charges against them.
The three are under investigation on allegations of siphoning USD700,000 (Sh71,504,650) paid to the federation by kit sponsors Nike, soliciting bribes to cover-up positive doping tests.
Kiplagat is further accused of receiving two vehicles from the Qatari Athletics Federations to vote for the Gulf State to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships.
Korir remarks came moment after the AK announced that Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei has been confirmed as the interim president following a meeting of the federation’s National Executive Committee on Tuesday.
Dozens of Kenyan athletes stormed the AK headquarters in Nairobi last Monday, locking out officials and demanding that senior officials step down.
Korir, who is also the Cherangany MP also spoke of his Anti-Doping Bill which seeks to criminalize doping in sports by proposing a four year jail term for athletes who test positive.
The athlete turned MP argues drastic action was the only way to halt a worsening sporting crisis in his East African nation.
“Unless someone is sentenced to prison we will not be able to discourage our young athletes from taking part in doping, we will have lost,” Korir added.
He cited the legislation would apply to both athletes who knowingly dope and doctors who administer performance-enhancing drugs.
Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo, tested positive for the blood blood-boosting drug EPO during an out-of-competition anti-doping control.
According to Korir, if the Bill was in place then the 2014 Boston and Chicago marathons winner would have been compelled to disclose the source of the energy enhancing drugs.
“It’s unfortunate when you hear someone like Rita comes to press and says that a non-doctor who I didn’t know gave me EPO, that is stupidity of the highest level and playing with our minds because nobody will give you EPO unless you lay down and its inject in you. so she knew somebody and she was part and parcel of it,” he said.
-Report by Laban Wanambisi