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Kenya’s athletes for worlds to undergo at least five doping tests

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AK president Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei said elite athletes will be required to seek medical attention from the appointed doctors failure to which they will be ineligible to represent Kenya in future competitions. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2 – Kenyan athletes selected for the August IAAF World Athletics Championships in London must have undergone at least five doping test, three in-competition and two out-of competition before being given the nod, the IAAF has instructed.

With Kenya still on the World Anti Doping Agency watch list, IAAF has taken the watertight cut-off measures to ensure only clean athletes qualify and Athletics Kenya through president Jackson Tuwei say they will implement the instructions to the latter.

“Let me make it clear; we had better take a small team that has met all these conditions than taking the risks. We are not going to take any athlete no matter at what level if they have not met these conditions,” AK chief Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei announced on Friday evening.

He added; “This is a follow up of the situation where we are still under the WADA watch list and we cannot afford to go against these guidelines.”

The recent revelation that Olympic Marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong tested positive for banned substance EPO in an out of competition test carried out by IAAF has further increased the scrutiny on Kenyan athletes.

Apart from the five tests that athletes should have undertaken before London, they will also be required certification confirming they have attended anti-doping seminars organized by AK and before the final list of athletes is sent to IAAF, all qualified have to sign a letter of undertaking to accept the conditions.

Tuwei says he is disappointed athletes are not taking seriously the anti-doping seminars organized in conjunction with the Anti Doping Agency of Kenya and has now urged them, with the new guidelines to take it more seriously.

“Last time we organized a workshop and of the 105 athletes only 50 attended. Those who miss are standing a very big risk of missing the World Championships. We will organize another one and I want to urge all the athletes to try and attend,” Tuwei added.

Meanwhile, AK have announced that there will be no wildcards for athletes to the World Championships, with the three across the line during the national trials on June 23 and 24 earning tickets to the biennial event.

An exception, Tuwei explained, might come up if IAAF gives direct tickets to all the defending champions.

He also disclosed they will invite Kenyan athletes based abroad for the trials, but they will also be taken through the five mandatory tests and this will be done in coordination with the respective Anti Doping Agencies in their countries.

Kenya has a plethora of talent training abroad, most in United States Universities and in Japan.

At the same time, athletes who will represent Kenya at the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi in July as well as those for the African Youth Championships and Youth Commonwealth Games (Under-20) will be selected under one championship to be held on the 13th and 14th of this month.

The top two athletes will earn qualification into the respective teams.

Tuwei has re-affirmed that Kenya will put in a strong team for the Under-18 championships to be held on home soil, with a keen interest taken in the short distances as well as the field events.

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