Obiri vows to help fight doping at her new Nock role

Kenya's Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (R) and Kenya's Hellen Onsando Obiri (L) celebrate after finishing respectively ...
Kenya's Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (R) and Kenya's Hellen Onsando Obiri (L) celebrate after finishing respectively first and second of the Women's 5000m Final during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 19, 2016. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

Fighting the doping menace that recently crept back to bruise the image of a healing nation is top among Helen Obiri’s priorities lists as she prepares to embark on her duties as the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (Nock) Female Athletes’ representative.

The Rio Olympics 5,000m silver medalist Helen Obiri also vowed to work hand in hand with the Nock Executive Committee members that will be elected during the May 5 polls.

Obiri was nominated by Athletics Kenya (AK) as the Athletes’ Female representative and will go unopposed alongside former Kenya sevens captain Humphrey Kayange who will represent the males.

Her sentiments come on the back of condemnations on doping by three-time London Marathon winner Mary Keitany, two-time world champion Florence Kiplagat and Olympic 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot.

The trio, who recently ran at the 2017 London Marathon, launched scathing criticisms of compatriot and Olympic Marathon champion Jemima Sumgong who was flagged as positive for banned substance EPO earlier this month.

In the pre-race build-up, Kiplagat admitted she felt ashamed of the EPO drugs bust – a hormone which boosts red blood cells – while Cheruiyot called it “embarrassing”.

Keitany, who sealed her three-peat at the English capital and who dethroned Sumgong, was similarly harsh in her assessment.

“I never ever imagined that it would happen,” the three-time New York City Marathon winner had expressed pre-race.

Before Sumgong failed the out-of-competition test, former training partner Rita Jeptoo, a three-time winner of the Boston Marathon, had already been banned in 2016 for four-years after also testing positive for EPO.

Sumgong tested positive following a test funded by Abbott World Marathon Majors, a group of six of the world’s leading marathon races, including London.

“Top of my agenda once in office is to restore the good image of our country. It has been tainted with the doping cases that are on the rise. Second will be the issue of kits, there are complaints from the athletes every time before we go for national duties.

“If some of the kits is not missing, it’s either late or in wrong sizes. I look forward to seeing the athletes going to Olympics and Commonwealth Games all smiles and comfortable,” Obiri, the 2011 World Indoor champion said.

She pledged her commitment to the incoming team and reiterated she ‘can’t wait to embark’ on her duties.

Among her other priorities is setting straight ‘a lot of’ pending issues between the Executive Committee and athletes.

Immediately after the unveiling of the candidates on Wednesday at the Centre for Multiparty Democracy-Kenya (CMD-K), fellow athletes went on to congratulate Obiri and legendary Paul Tergat is Nock’s chairman in waiting after incumbent Dr. Kipchoge Keino failed to formalize his bid for reelection.

Coaches equally expressed their confidence in the leadership skills of the duo lead by Coach Bernard Ouma.

“These two are still active athletes and at the peak of their careers, I believe they are up to task if given clear guidelines and they will do a good job. They are genuine athletes and we have confidence in them,” Ouma said.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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