You are on your own, AK tells drug cheats

Saturday, January 18th, 2020 08:04 | By
Former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang who has been charged by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) with breaking the “whereabouts” rule. FILE

Athletics Kenya (AK) is worried following the suspension of two high-profile athletes barely a month to an eventful year that will climax with the Tokyo Olympics.

AK president Jackson Tuwei has admitted the federation is hugely concerned after former world junior 800m champion Alfred Kipketer and ex-world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang were recently charged by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) with breaking the “whereabouts” rule.

“Doping is a choice which has huge consequences. It doesn’t matter who you are. You must take full responsibility,” Tuwei said during a media briefing at Riadha House on Friday.

He added: “Our tough stand remains. We won’t allow any convicted doper to compete for us no matter how good they are even after completing their ban. Just retire in peace because we will only work with clean athletes.” 

Tuwei, accompanied by the federation’s senior vice president Paul Mutwii, National Executive member Barnaba Korir and coach Julius Kirwa, said AK, in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports will allocate more funds to the Anti Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to ensure a wider pool of athletes are tested.

“Presently, AK has submitted a list of 300 athletes to AIU. This is a big number going by previous statistics. This is increasing the scope of testing, making it bigger and in a shorter time.

That way, more athletes will have been subjected to the doping requirements,” he said. “In conjunction with ADAK, we want to make it clear that every athlete must be tested, be it the elite or junior. We will not relent from exposing the cheats,” said Tuwei. 

Being an Olympics year, Tuwei said the federation is determined to give all athletes a fair chance with the hope of preventing cases of junior athletes missing out on grounds of having not met doping regulations as it happened before the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

“To compete at the Olympics, one must undergo at least three out-of-competition doping tests and a similar number during competition. All athletes must also take their biological passports seriously,” said the retired Army General.

Tuwei, meanwhile, said the federation is following up with the Ministry of Sports to ensure doping is criminalised.

“As you’re aware, we drafted a Bill which is with the ministry. It will soon go to Parliament with the hope of it amending the anti-doping laws to make doping criminal,” he said.                                         -AMOS ABUGA

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