Olympic medalist Ochichi urges more awareness on doping

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

Olympic medalist Isabella Ochichi has called for an increase in awareness campaigns against doping as Kenya eradicates the menace that has put Kenya under the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) spotlight.

The 2004 World 5000m silver medalist who has been kept off the road by a niggly tendon injury also urged the Athletics Kenya (AK) to provide a better shield for the younger upcoming athletes deemed the most susceptible to malicious influence.

Ochichi added there is need to accelerate efforts to stem the vice in order to quickly restore the global image Kenyan athletics as a clean sport.

“What we need is proper mechanisms and educative measures to ensure that athletes are not lured into using the drugs and yet they don’t know the dangers they are subjecting themselves to. We need to enlighten each and every athlete who is getting there to know that such activities can cost their career,” she told Citizen Digital.

Last month, Athletics Kenya (AK) convened a meeting with athletes’ managers where he urged them to take a front row seat in fighting the doping scandal that almost locked Kenya out of the Rio 2016 Summer Games.

Her last international competition came in December 2015 at Honolulu, Hawaii and has since been laid off through injury.

“I have been training but since a I got a tendon injury it has really affected my performance so have to relax for a while. And you know I moved from track and field so I am only concentrating on the marathon,” she said.

She was a familiar face in the first half of the last decade and her biggest international success came in Athens when she finished second in the 5000m behind Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar, and ahead of the latter’s compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba.

In addition to her Athens success, she also competed over 5000m at the 2003 and 2005 IAAF World Championships, finishing sixth and eighth respectively, and finished in the top 10 in each of her six races at the five IAAF World Cross Country Championships between 2002 and 2006, including two bronze medals in the now defunct short race.

In 2006, she had a fine track season that ended with a third place at the World Athletics Final 5000m in Stuttgart.

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Story By Dennis Ohuru
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