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Rise in doping cases threatens to kill sport-
ing livelihood, Kenyan athletes warned

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan sports officials said in a conference that doping is threatening the livelihood of sport in the country.

The conference brought together elite and upcoming athletes in Nairobi, who agreed that more needs to be done to help tame the vice.

Between 2004 and August this year, Kenya has had 138 cases of positive tests for banned substances among its elite athletes, of which 113 were taken in competition.

Gunter Younger, Director of Intelligence and Investigations at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), said the fight against doping can only be won through joint efforts.

“The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) cannot do this on its own. It will take the full cooperation and involvement of a range of other groups, including law enforcement, athletes and their representatives, government bodies and Athletics Kenya. With WADA’s assistance and continued support, we will bring the fight to the dopers,” said Younger.

Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei confirmed that the organization would leave no stone unturned to expose cheaters. “If you think that we will lose the war against doping, go back and think again.”

“Any athlete who is found guilty and is punished for anti-doping violations will never wear a Kenya vest at any event, even if they serve their bans.”

Tuwei added that though Kenya has been said to have been compliant with WADA, more needs to be done to tackle cheating in athletics and fight allegations of corruption.

“We want a clean sport. Athletics is our heritage and we must protect it,” said Patrick Sang, coach of Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge. “There must be total trust between a coach and an athlete.”

Mathew Kisorio, a marathon runner who was banned for doping, has served his suspension and is back in active competition, said he regrets his misdemenor and advised young athletes to be cautious of cheating.

“I have not had an opportunity to run in some of the big marathons due to my doping history,” said Kisorio. “I used to spend a lot of money on friends but they all ran away when I was caught doping.”

New York marathon champion Mary Keitany asked upcoming athletes to be wary of who they seek medical help from.

“They must also be protected from rogue and exploitative coaches, managers and agents, who would lead them to doping,” said Keitany. “Discipline is key in athletics.”

However, 2008 Olympic 800m champion Wilfred Bungei called for criminalization of the doping charge.

“Banning an anti-doping violator is not a solution to ending doping. Criminalizing the vice would be a better solution,” said Bungei.

World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, who is under suspension for doping, but has denied any wrongdoing, said the conference was important.

“This is a very good measure. It is a noble course. It’s a shame that I was not invited just because it’s alleged I dope. I hope someday to be heard. I hope the error that occurred will in future be identified. I appreciate all the stakeholders,” said Kiprop.


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