Kenya's athletics body sensitizes elite runners on doping

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-15 21:46:52|Editor: Yurou Liang
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By Ben Ochieng

NAIROBI, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's athletics officials took the fight against doping in sports to the country's elite athletes on Thursday by sensitizing them on the menace.

The elite athletes were taken through the implications that doping entails, which include jail term and financial penalties.

"It is a requirement by the International Association of Athletics Federations to carry out training for athletes like the upcoming World Athletics Championships scheduled for August in London," Athletics Kenya (AK) CEO Susan Kamau told Xinhua.

"We have a list of probable athletes who foresee will make the team to the London event and we believe that when we start with them, the upcoming runners will follow their example," Kamau said.

Last year, Kenya made doping a criminal offense that allows for a three-year prison term and a fine of 30,000 U.S. dollars for people found guilty of doping-related offenses.

An athlete could also be sent to jail for one year for failing or refusing to submit to a doping test.

Kamau said AK is working closely with the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to sensitize athletes to run clean and be responsible sportspeople.

"We want them to be accountable about their whereabouts, be careful about what they consume, seek medication from officially-sanctioned medics when they are indisposed among other issues," Kamau noted.

She said providing whereabouts is about protecting athletes' right to clean sports because it gives the Anti-Doping Organization (ADO) the ability to locate athletes with no notice, which is vital to testing those who choose cheat themselves by doping.

Kamau said AK will go out of its way to eradicate doping from its ranks and avoid a blanket ban on the country owing to the blunders of others.

"We don't want to be banned from taking part in international competition like some countries have been proscribed. We will react with the force of a sledge hammer on any incidences of doping in order to wipe away the menace from within our midst," the AK official said.

In October 2016, former Chicago and Boston Marathon winner, Rita Jeptoo, had her doping ban doubled to four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) until 2018 and stripped her of her 2014 win in Boston, plus results, prize money and appearance money dating back to April 17, 2014.

In April, Olympic marathon champion, Jemima Sumgong tested positive for the blood booster EPO in an out-of-competition drug test in Kenya in the biggest blow yet to the credibility of the African country's famed distance running program.

The seminar was attended by who-is-who of Kenya's runners such as world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor, Commonwealth Games champion Mercy Cherono and national 100m and 200m champion, Mark Otieno.