NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 10 – Athletics Kenya (AK) has identified five doctors who will form a network of accredited medical personnel to attend to athletes in the country as a measure of curbing doping.
According to AK president Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei, elite athletes will be required to seek medical attention and advice solely from the appointed doctors failure to which they will be ineligible to represent Kenya in future competitions.
“There are five doctors bred within the country, these are the first group of doctors but we are going to increase as we go along because five will not be enough, these doctors have already been contacted, vetted and conformed by IAAF,” Tuwei said.
A total of 109 athletes have been identified for the pilot program which is in tandem with requirements by the IAAF and will take effect from January 17 and will be fully operational a week later.
The five, David Muhindi, Fredrick Kirui, Wycliffe Koskei, Mwithia Ngundo and Castro Mugala will work alongside Athletics Kenya doctor Victor Bargoria. They will be spread across Eldoret, Iten, Nyahururu and Nandi where most athletes hail.
AK has already arranged for a meeting with the selected pool of athletes on January 16 in Eldoret to educate them on the new rules by the IAAF. Also in attendance will be officials from the Anti Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) and Ministry of Sports
Tuwei also clarified they will not block individual athletes who have their own doctors and specialists, but they will have to coordinate any treatment outside the country with AK’s doctor’s network.
“Anybody who wants to go and attend to a medical condition outside the country must report to the doctors here for purposes of clearance and coordination. If we have to get out of this (WADA) watch list, we really have to corporate because I think the exercise is important and critical,” Tuwei clarified.
Kenya, according to the AK boss is still under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) watch-list until the end of 2017 and adds they will follow the new integrity conditions set up by the world athletics governing body to the latter, with the resolutions having been passed last year.
“We have realized a large majority of these cases are organized with the help of Kenyan doctors and clinical officers and that is why we are doing this. We have drafted rules making it mandatory for athletes to go through this network only. Any failure to comply will result in ineligibility to represent Kenya,” Tuwei declared.
He added the scope of athletes will be increased as time goes and so will the doctor’s list, approved by IAAF.
“A strong and sustainable involvement of ADAK is responsible for us to achieve good results. We want to get off this watch list as a federation and country. We cannot continue being doubted by the world and as a federation we stand a chance to be cautioned if we don’t take action,” Tuwei affirmed.
He also urged athletes and their management units to update themselves with the 2017 list of banned substances to ensure the country remains detached from the shadows of doping.