MOMBASA, Kenya, Feb 17- The Anti-Doping Association of Kenya (ADAK) is scheduled to unveil a partnership with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to see Anti-Doping education incorporated in the school curriculum.
This, according to ADAK Director of Anti-Doping Education and Research Agnes Mandu, will help to ensure that young aspiring athletes are trained from an early age on doping and its dangers, straight from elementary school level.
“We will be unveiling this in a few weeks and I think this will help us a lot in educating our young people and bringing them up knowing the dangers of doping and this is a long term plan to ensure that we curb this vice,” Mandu said.
The agency also disclosed plans of starting research on herbs with speculation that some might have prohibited components, this in a bid to protect Kenyan athletes who use alternative medicine.
Mandu also spoke of Kenya’s ambition to have its own testing lab, as they are currently forced to take all testing samples to Qatar. South Africa housed Africa’s lone lab, but it was suspended a while ago.
She was speaking on Saturday during one-day anti-doping education workshop for sports editors and journalists at a Mombasa Hotel.
Mandu has at the same time urged the sports writers to help in the fight against doping, saying the play an integral role in ensuring the vice is curbed.
“We realize the invaluable input that members of the fourth estate have towards sensitization and information sharing and it is for this reason that we shall continue walking with them throughout this journey,” said Mandu.
Meanwhile, Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) president Chris Mbaisi has urged local media to do their part in helping combat the doping menace among the sporting fraternity in the country.
“Kenya as a country is known for its record breaking athletes but issues of doping which are global phenomena almost made the country be declared non-compliant to the World Anti-doping Code in the run up to the Olympics in Brazil in 2016. It is our role as journalists to ensure that this does not happen again,” said Mbaisi.
The journalists and editors from all the major media houses in the country were taken through ADAK’s mandate and the progress the agency has made since its formation vide a legal notice in November 2015.
Kenya was only recently struck off the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) watch-list, having come close to being blocked off the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil over cases of doping. The workshop comes at a right time as Kenya continues to fight the image of its athletes.
Olympic marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong was last year handed a four-year ban having been found guilty of using the performance enhancing drug EPO coming after the suspension of another athlete, Rita Jeptoo.
The two cases put the country on the spotlight, but efforts from ADAK and the government over the past two years has seen the vice curbed.
Also, while agreeing that the workshop is a forum for journalists and editors to enhance their anti-doping knowledge, SJAK Secretary General, Mike Okinyi, lauded ADAK’s role in sensitizing athletes and their support personnel with a view to ensuring that they play clean.
“The media and ADAK must continue playing a collaborative role to ensure that we all do our respective parts in promoting clean sport in Kenya. As journalists our responsibility does not end with highlighting athletes who have been sanctioned,:
“We also have a responsibility of making sure that we cultivate an atmosphere that promotes anti-doping awareness and in the long run create an environment where cheats are completely eliminated in sports,” Okinyi.
So far ADAK has sensitized over 37,000 participants in various categories since its inception in 2016. The Agency has achieved this through workshops, outreach and Values-Based programs.
The media workshop is the first this year and the second with SJAK with the agency now committed to making the event bi-annual so as to reach out to more sports writers.