NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 4 – In efforts to fight doping, Athletics Kenya (AK) has set November 2 as the awareness day for the menace, federation Chief Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei announced on Wednesday.
Tuwei was speaking after launching the 9th edition of the Ndalat Gaa Cross-Country Championships to be held on October 14 in Nandi County in memory of founder of the race the late Isaiah Kiplagat.
“We intend to work with the counties very closely because doping in Kenya is real and we need to fight it. I am calling upon every Kenyan that we understand the problem of doping because it not only ends the career of athletes but it actually kills them,” Tuwei said.
“As much as we have a medical camp coming up during this event (Ndalat Gaa) we are actually killing our athletes by allowing them to dope and the problem is not the athletes the problem is the athletes’ support personnel. So for the first time in Athletics Kenya we have the awareness day,” the AK boss added.
“Let’s all come out that day and say no to doping. We are giving our country a bad name and we want to get out of this. Lets us work hard to get this thing out of our country,” Tuwei pleaded.
This year’s Ndalat Gaa race has received major support from marathon great, Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge who hailed the late Kiplagat for founding the race that has nurtured athletes who have gone ahead to be world beaters like 3000m steeplechase star Conseslus Kipruto.
“I am proud to see that the late Kiplagat achieved his core objective as most of the athletes who started their running careers at the event are now accomplished runners who have made our country proud. If it were not for visionaries like him with the support of corporates like Safaricom, I would not have made it this far in my career,” Kipchoge, who is the race ambassador asserted.
A week before the Ndalat Gaa Cross-Country Championship whose theme is cancer awareness, the Kericho 10km Road Race will be held on Saturday October 7 where last year’s winners Sheila Chepkurui and Ernest Ng’eno are expected to defend their titles.
“October is an exciting month for the Safaricom Athletics Series calendar and I hope talented athletes will take advantage of this and participate in the races we have lined up this month,” Director – Consumer Business Unit, Safaricom, Sylvia Mulinge said.
About 250 athletes are expected to take part in the annual race that received Sh2m sponsorship from Safaricom.
Other upcoming races in the Safaricom Athletics Series include: Madoka Half Marathon, Imenti South Road Race and Kisumu Town Marathon, which will wind up this year’s edition in December.