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Kenyan athletes to sign doping integrity pledges

By For Citizen Digital

Samples collected from athletes to test for doping. PHOTO/File
Samples collected from athletes to test for doping. PHOTO/File

Athletics Kenya (AK) has introduced a mandatory athlete integrity pledge as the governing body intensifies its fight against doping.

Athletes will be required to make a signed commitment binding them to a promise to compete fairly and strive to uphold integrity in sport.

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Speaking during the launch in Nyahururu in Laikipia County, AK president Lieutenant Gen. (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei said it is important for athletes to understand they have a huge responsibility in ensuring the doping fight is successful.

“When athletes win our national anthem and is a source of pride for all of us but the medal and other honours belongs to them so it’s their responsibility to run clean,” Tuwei said.

The four-point athlete integrity pledge (AIP) is comprised of;

  1. Promise to compete fairly, honestly with dignity and full respect to his self and fellow competitors.
  2. Promise always to conduct self in a way that protects and upholds true morals, values and integrity of athletics.
  3. Vow to genuinely find out how good they can be.
  4. Pledge to stand tall and speak up to protect clean athletes and the credibility of athletics, to voice concerns that they have loudly and made it clear cheating and dishonesty is not allowed.

“We are so happy to launch this campaign in this town where we have been able to educate people about the importance of fighting doping together. Athletes have relatives, they have coaches and we want all of their associates to help,” the AK boss added.

Over 100 athletes from Laikipia and Nyandarua Counties attended the launch, pledging to work hand in hand with AK to help wipe out the vice.

Four athletes from the region have ongoing doping-related cases with those present collectively condemning those charged for ‘embarrassing’ them.

“I breath and live athletics; it’s all I have so I get very mad when some athletes want to taint the sport,” Samuel Ndungu Wanjiku, the 2014 Lisbon Marathon champion lamented.

Ndungu who is also the chairman of Nyandarua and Laikipia counties athletes association (Nyapi) says they are ready to cooperate with the county to identify suspects who are promoting doping in the area.

Rudisha ‘embarrassed’

In Kapsabet, Nandi County, where a similar drive was rolled out, elite athletes added their voices of rebuke at the menace that had pushed Kenya to the brink of being declared non-compliant to the World Anti-Doping Code by WADA.

Such would have attracted a ban from international competitions yet the country had for long been under the WADA spotlight.

“I feel embarrassed when a Kenyan athlete fails their doping test. My dad Daniel ran clean and I would not like to see the legacy off our founding fathers die off,” David ‘King’ Rudisha who attended the forum rued.

The double Olympic and two-time World 800m champion urged fellow athletes to run clean.

His words were echoed by two-time World and Commonwealth Games champion Milcah Chemos who was once denied a rightful world title during the 2009 Berlin World championships.

“I was given a medal after seven years because two people had doped. Let us be ambassadors of clean sports. We should not use drugs to have unfair advantage over the others you will be caught eventually,” said Chemos, who was elevated from a bronze to a gold medal after Spain’s Marta Dominguez and Russia’s Yuliya Zarudneva failed their tests.

The hash tag #Truewinnersrunclean was unveiled at the event graced by area Governor Stephen Sang to help sensitize the athletes and the community.

The Governor issued a stern warning to those caught selling banned substances as he vowed to aid in the course.

The 2012 London Olympics Games silver medalist Abel Kirui, Beijing Olympics  silver medalist Janeth Jepkosgei, 2013 World champion Eunice Sum, former Tokyo and Chicago champion Dickson Chumba, 2016 Paris Marathon winner Cyprian Kotut, Seoul Marathon champion Amos Kipruto were among those in attendance.

-Report by Philip Muchiri and Charity Wanja.

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