• Thursday, 01 December 2022
Athletes begin anti-doping training.

Athletes begin anti-doping training.

Kenya's participation in the World Athletics Championships and Olympic Games has recently taken center stage for the wrong reasons rather than for the right ones.

When World Athletics classified Kenya as a country where doping is prevalent, it had serious ramifications for a clean World Athletics Championships and Olympics.

Kenya may have missed out on medals in some events because medal contenders were barred from competing because they did not meet either category "A" requirements or violated some anti-doping rules.

Mark Otieno did not begin his 100-meter race at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after being flagged down for violating some anti-doping rules by ingesting a prohibited substance.

Lawrence Cherono met a similar fate as he prepared to compete in a marathon at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, United States of America, in July.

Daniel Simiu and Nicholas Kimeli finished second and third in the 5,000m trials, respectively, but were unable to represent Kenya at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha due to failure to meet some Category "A" requirements.

Etyang Kamar qualified to represent Kenya in the 1,500m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, as did Amos Serem (3,000m steeplechase) and Selah Jepleting (10,000m), who qualified for the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, United States of America, in July.

Kenyan athletes must submit to three out-of-competition doping tests ten months before any World Athletics Championships or Olympic Games. One of the tests must be a blood test, and they must be performed two weeks apart.

Education has also been emphasized by World Athletics' Athlete Integrity Unit (AIU).


However, the Kenyan Anti-Doping Agency (ADAK) is determined to correct some of these errors in time for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

ADAK has now taken the initiative to educate athletes, beginning with those who have either met or are expected to meet the qualifying standards in Budapest.

The first of two education sessions was held on Tuesday in Eldoret, and the second will be held on Wednesday at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi.

The Eldoret session was open to up to 40 athletes. Among them are Eva Cherono, Edward Zakayo, Wycliffe Kinyamal, two-time 800m Commonwealth Games champion, Faith Cherotich, World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion, and Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Jackline Chepkoech.

Martin Yauma, ADAK's head of education and research, stated that the education series will bring athletes up to speed on World Athletics rules in preparation for the World Championships.

"This is just a discussion with the athletes, and our goal is to make sure we have a clean group of athletes representing Kenya in global events," Yauma explained.

He stated that quick money has been the primary cause of anti-doping violations, and that the agency is working hard to make athletes aware of how they can still make money by training properly and eating the right diet.

"Our plea to athletes is to always train hard, eat well, and manage injuries well because that is the safest way to gain wealth through fair competition," he continued.

Athletics Kenya executive committee member Barnaba Korir, who launched the education series in Eldoret, stated that the testing system is becoming more stringent and that athletes must be kept up to date on the latest developments.

"We must now identify athletes who are likely and prepare them for the World Championships," Korir said.

He added that Kenya is still on the watch list and that the AIU will issue further instructions next year on whether the country should remain in category "A" or be removed from it.


"Imparting knowledge on athletes is a must for us, and seeing the athletes being flagged down shows that the systems are working, and there will be no shortcut for anyone thinking of using a banned substance because they will be smoked out," he said.

He went on to say that one of World Athletics' requirements is that the Kenyan government commit to and fund ADAK in order for them to carry out their mandate in combating doping.