Act now on doping, top runners urge Government


Act now on doping, top runners urge Government
Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge (1st) and Kenya's Wilson Kipsang (2nd) pose after the Men's Elite race

Top runners led by former world marathon record holder and chairman of Professional Athletes Association of Kenya (PAAK), Wilson Kipsang, have questioned the government’s commitment curbing the escalating doping problem in the country.

In a meeting in the athletics hub of Eldoret, the runners expressed fears that the country risk being banned from participating in all international events including the Rio 2016 Olympics in the summer putting the sport and their livelihoods in jeopardy.

Their concerns came in the wake of world governing body, IAAF president, Lord Sebastian Coe, announcing he would not hesitate to ban the entire Kenyan track and field team from the Olympics if the country is found not compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.

Kipsang reiterated the need for “athletes in the country practicing clean sport in a move to build trust among the athletes’ eyes in the international arena.”

The 2012 and 14 London Marathon champion who broke the world ultimate distance record when he ran 2:03:23 at the 2013 Berlin race was flanked by leading runners in the Netherland based Volare Sports stable.

Volare Sports International Director and Athletes’ Representative, Gerard Van De Veen said “it will a disaster for Kenya, which is a super power in the world arena is banned like Russia,” adding “ the country’s participation in the coming Olympics is at risk and needs to work on the issue within the next two months.”

Last week, WADA announced Kenya’s matter had been forwarded to its Independent Commission led by former president, Dick Pound that recommended Russia’s exclusion from international competition last December after it was established the European powerhouse was engaged in an official and systematic doping programme for her athletes at major events.

Findings from the Independent Commission will advise on whether Kenya that missed a compliance deadline to the WADA code last week should be excluded from international competition.

Matters have been exacerbated by bribery claims leveled against Athletics Kenya (AK) chief executive, Isaac Mwangi, by two female sprinters to reduce their suspension after they tested positive for banned diuretic furosemide at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

On November 23, 2015 last year, the Kipsang-led PAAK in a 48-hour blockade of Athletics Kenya (AK) Riadha House headquarters where the athletes were pressing for the removal of suspended president, Isaiah Kiplagat and his deputy, David Okeyo, and stern action on the doping menace.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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