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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

WADA rules out institutionalized doping in Kenya

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Doping in Kenya is not sophisticated, organized or institutionalized, said Gunter Younger, Director of Intelligence and Investigations of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), here on Thursday.

Younger, who delivered a special report, said despite the country having big number of athletes engaging in the vice, cheating in sports remains uncoordinated and there is no evidence of institutionalized system.

The report known as Kenya Project looked into widespread doping in the East African nation and was secretly launched in December 2016.

Over 50 elite runners have been nabbed for using performance enhancement drugs (EPO) and other forms of doping in the last six years in Kenya alone.

Younger said doping in the country is different from other doping structures discovered elsewhere in the world and it requires a different approach.

“What we have determined is that doping in Kenya is not institutionalized. What is needed is a multi-pronged solution. That is why in response to the issues discovered, we have established a network led by Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) that will collaborate, educate, investigate and prosecute cases,” Younger told Xinhua in Nairobi.

Though the project is now concluded, Younger said real work in fighting the vice is just beginning.

“If our recommendations are implemented, Kenya Project will lead to better education of athletes and medical practitioners, a greater investigative capacity for ADAK, an active whistleblower network and, ultimately, a stronger anti-doping program in Kenya,” he added.

However, WADA warned Kenya that it must work together with other countries and partners to succeed in the fight against doping.

“If you think you can fight doping without partners and alliances you will not be successful. We need to come together and work hand in hand. It is not just catching the dopers, it is more to protect the values of sport,” said Younger told Xinhua, Thursday in Nairobi.

The report says most Kenyan athletes commonly use nandrolone and EPO in cheating. However, majority of the athletes caught in the vice have confessed to WADA and other agencies that they have little information and sensitization about doping and were willfully blind as to the consequences of the vice.

The report however notes that the local medical practitioners must be incorporated if they are to know how the avenues drug cheats use to access the prohibited substances.

“We take the doping practices in Kenya very seriously and have been working hard to identify their extent and nature in Kenyan athletics as well as trying to work out the best possible response,” said Younger.

“A meeting such as this, which includes all parties involved in that response, is a very important next step. We believe that a strong, unified, multi-stakeholder approach is key to advancing clean sport in Kenya.”

Kenyan athletes make up about a quarter of AIU out-of-competition testing program and at least the equivalent amount of time in investigations and intelligence that AIU team dies.

The Nairobi-based Lancet Group of Laboratories East Africa has been set up as the new center for Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) blood analysis in the region.

It serves Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Lancet started its operation in early September 2018 in Nairobi and will perform blood analyses to support the AIU’s ABP program as well as other anti-doping program in line with ADAK’s mandate.

ADAK chief executive officer Japhter Rugut said Kenya is privileged to be the world’s first country to host this kind of forum and this strengthens our position as a sporting powerhouse.

“We welcome our partners to share with us how well we can cooperate in the sensitive area of intelligence and investigations to ensure that we promote clean sport,” Rugut said.

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EARLIER REPORT:

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has confirmed five more Kenyan elite runners have tested positive to doping and have been suspended from competition.

Casablanca Marathon silver medalist Peter Kiptoo has been banned for four years after he failed the test. Others are Nicholas Kiplagat, Ferdinand Omanyala, Micah Kiplagat Samoei and Michael Rotich.

“It is our collective responsibility to ensure we keep athletics clean worldwide,” said AIU on Thursday.

The five will join Athens Marathon champion Samuel Kalalei, who was provisionally suspended from all competitions by AIU after testing positive for banned substance EPO.

Other high profile athletes who have lost the integrity test include former Commonwealth Games champion and Milan Marathon winner Lucy Kabuu and Boniface Mweresa.

This follows the suspensions of Olympic and three-time world 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop and Hillary Yego. The latest wave of failed dope tests derailing Kenya’s bid to clear it’s named from the IAAF watchlist.

Kenya’s athlete representative to global track and field governing body (IAAF) Milcah Chemos says that ultimately, the long arm of the law will catch up with any athlete violating the anti-doping rules.

“It’s very disappointing to see a Kenyan every now and then being linked to a doping violation,” said Chemos, a former world champion in steeplechase.

Kenya is renowned for its middle and long distance running prowess but the east African nation’s athletes have suffered more than 50 failed doping tests in the past six years.

Athletics Kenya Executive Committee member Barnaba Korir says Kenya must always strive to win the war against doping.

“It’s sad that we continue to lose top athletes to doping. Athletics Kenya obviously regrets the development and reiterates that athletes must run clean,” he added.

Over 50 athletes have been suspended by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from Kenya in the last decade for cheating.

Currently, Kenya, Ethiopia, Belarus and Ukraine constitute the current watchlist of Category ‘A’, which includes the members most at risk of doping.

             

 

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