Shujaa, Lionesses in stringent Rio 2016 dope tests

Shujaa hurdle before kick off of their London 7s clash against Portugal. PHOTO/World Rugby
Shujaa hurdle before kick off of their London 7s clash against Portugal. PHOTO/World Rugby

The national men’s and women’s sevens teams underwent at least three doping tests in the past two months ahead of their medal hunt at the Olympic Games in Rio-de-Janeiro, Brazil that begins in exactly seven days time.

The two teams were part of an extensive program undertaken by World Rugby’s annual testing and education regime that involved the International Olympic Committee and World Anti-doping Agency’s Pre-Olympics Games task force.

Kenyan rugby players who arrived in Brazil on Monday were tested during an out of competition test with urine and blood samples being drawn for controls.

The samples including those from other countries underwent additional analysis for Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESA), such as EPO, which was banned in the early 90s.

The World Rugby program, which began in January, was part of the annual testing and education plan that sensitized players against the vice under the auspices of the Keep rugby clean campaign.

In March 2016, World Rugby exonerated Kenya after a local anti-doping task force in a 2014 report alleged systematic doping within the Kenya Rugby union.

World Rugby re-tested the samples used in the report and concluded no evidence to support the allegations.

The Men’s sevens team were last tested on Wednesday 27th July 2016 with some of members of the Women’s team being randomly selected as well for testing.

The stringent measures by world governing are targeted at ensuring clean players dazzle rugby purists as the game makes its debut in Rio next week.

“Doping is one of the biggest threats to the integrity of sport and World Rugby continues to be committed to protecting clean athletes through intelligent testing and values-based education,” World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said on their website.

“We take our role very seriously to ensure that players at all levels of the game understand that there is no place for doping in our sport,” World Rugby Anti-Doping General Manager Mike Earl added.

The Kenya Lionesses who have held six training sessions so far in Rio start their campaign against New Zealand on Saturday August 6.

They will face off against France on the same day before concluding their group games on Sunday against Spain.

On August 9, the men’s sevens team who have held 3 intensive training sessions since arriving in Rio de Janeiro, will face Great Britain, an amalgamation of English, Welsh and Scottish sevens players in their first group game.

Shujaa will face New Zealand and Japan in their next two group games.

Additional reporting from World Rugby

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