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Kenya leads Africa in doping while Russians
top the world - reports Athletics Integrity Unit

by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya is the third country after Russia and India with the largest pool of athletes banned for doping from international competition, according to latest report by Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

In the last six months, Kenya has had seven elite runners locked out of competition for anomalies in their Athlete Biological Passport samples or failure to show up for testing.

The Athlete Biological Passport involves measuring and monitoring an athlete’s blood variables over time and establishes an individual longitudinal profile which can indicate the use of prohibited substances or prohibited methods.

"The Athlete Biological Passport program has become an incredibly efficient tool for targeting athletes and uncovering anti-doping rule violations as proved through these cases.

"The IAAF is committed to increasing the Athlete Biological testing and these sanctions should make it clear to those athletes who are doping that the IAAF will be aggressively monitoring and targeting them," AIU said in a statement on Friday.

Since the Athlete Biological Passport program started in 2012, Kenya has had 41 athletes banned for doping or found to have been involved in doping-related cases with Russia leading at 87 while India is second with 42 cases.

Morocco is fourth with 30 cheats.

The United States has 17 while Ethiopia has 12 cheating athletes.

Kenya’s sports medicine doctor Andrew Suleh said there is need to enhance sensitization by Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) and Athletics Kenya.

"Athletes biological passport ABP needs thorough awareness and education as 3 out 12 athletes banned so far is due inconsistencies in their ABP records," said Suleh.

Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Belarus and Ukraine were named as problem countries and put under category A because their athletes are at high risk to engage in doping.

It means the team selected for the Olympics or the World Championships will be tested three times in a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) laboratory in the buildup before being allowed to compete.

Only Russia, with the leading number of cheating athletes in the world received the axe by WADA for state-aided doping.

According to the report, 24 male athletes have received the sanction by the AIU while the female category has produced 17 cheating athletes so far.

Most abused substance by Kenya’s athletes include blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) which stimulates the production of more red blood cells improving oxygen levels in the body, Norandrosterone with Prednisone, Salbutamol and Steroids.


Kenyan Salome Jerono Biwott gets eight-year ban for failing doping test

by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has made a statement of intent in its war against doping by handing Kenya’s Salome Jerono Biwott an eight-year ban from all competition.

Biwott, who was first hit with a two-year ban in 2012 when she failed a drugs test after winning the 2012 Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon, is fresh from finishing second at the Sao Paulo International Marathon in 2:37;33 on April 7.

It was in Brazil that Biwott failed the anti-doping test after her urine sample tested positive for norandrosterone, a substance that is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.

"The AIU confirms that a period of ineligibility of eight years commencing on June 5, 2019 for the athlete’s second violation of the anti-doping regulation and disqualification of all results since April 7, 2019 with all resulting consequences including the forfeiture of any titles, awards, medals, points and prize and appearance money paid to her," said the AIU in a statement on Thursday.

In her defense, which was rejected by AIU, Biwott had said she had received an injection of Depo-Provera (Medroxyprogesterone) two weeks prior to the race in Brazil. She also declined to request an analysis of the B Sample.


enyan Salome Jerono Biwott. PHOTO - SÃO PAULO MARATHON | Coastweek

Kenyan Salome Jerono Biwott. PHOTO - SÃO PAULO MARATHON
"The AIU informed Jerono that her explanation did not account for the presence of norandrosterone in her sample and charged her with committing a second Anti-Doping Rule Violation," said AIU.

She now joins former Commonwealth 10,000m champion Joyce Chepkirui and Hamburg Marathon bronze medalist Jacob Kendagor, who have both been suspended for failing anti-doping tests.

The number of elite Kenyan athletes who have been reprimanded by the AIU for use of banned substances in the last three months alone now stands at six.

Others are world half marathon record holder Abraham Kiptum, Cyrus Rutto and Felix Kirwa.


Athletics Integrity Unit action in the case Of Ms Salome Jerono Biwott

Kenya women facing Malawi in quest for Olympic football ticket

by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s failure to secure qualification to the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) tournament will inspire the team to navigate through the elimination qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, head coach David Ouma said on Tuesday.

Ouma believes that with better preparations, Kenya will easily overcome Malawi in their first hurdle in the qualification process on August 28 away in Blantyre, before the return leg in Nairobi on August 31.

A victory against Malawi will then set Kenya up for a tie against either Gabon or Ghana.

"The team is promising and ready for the tussle ahead. Winnie Kanyotu, Elizabeth Wambui and Wincate Kaari have been ruled out of this week’s camp as they are carrying knocks and bruises from the local league," Ouma said.

African football’s governing body CAF has lined up 25 teams to compete in the qualification process for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The qualification campaign will be played across the first two weeks of April.

Along with Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea, Kenya was given a bye in the first round and only joined the qualification process in August.

Round one will present a number of highly-anticipated fixtures, with Mali taking on Morocco before Zambia square off with Angola. Uganda will also be up against Ethiopia, with both teams having showed well at the last edition of the CECAFA Cup tournament.

Kenya will, however, miss the services of veterans like Esse Mbeyu Akida, Neddy Atieno and the Sweden-based duo of Mary Kinuthia and Christine Nafula.

"We have our veterans who haven’t joined our camp, like Esse who has other commitments, and Mary Kinuthia and Nafula who are still in Sweden, but they will join us later to boost the team ahead of the crucial match," said Ouma.

Ouma, however, rued missing out on the 2018 AWCON tournament in Ghana, and is focused on erasing those memories by qualifying for Tokyo.

"It was indeed sad on how we did not take part in the last AWCON edition in Accra.

"This time round we want to be in the Olympics, and I believe we shall achieve it."


Steeplechase record holder faces mile hurdle in Monaco Diamond League quest

by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s 3000m steeplechase specialist Beatrice Chepkoech will return to Monaco on Friday, on a track she broke the world record two years ago, eyeing another win.

Chepkoech will be running her fifth race in the Diamond League circuit this year coming up against some of the world’s fastest talent over the mile race in Monte Carlo.

"It may not be my specialty, but I have proved to be tough to beat before and I will want to take my chance and exploit it. The ultimate goal is to be at the peak level to run a world lead and win the gold at the World Championships in October," said Chepkoech on Thursday.

Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, who set the current world record of three minutes 50.07 seconds four years ago, will need to be at her best to withstand the challenge of the Dutch European 5,000m champion Sifan Hassan and Chepkoech.

In the 800m, Kenya’s Ferguson Cheruyiot Rotich, who has clocked 1:43.93 this year will seek to stop Bostwana’s Nijel Amos and European champion Adam Kszczot.

For France’s world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, seeking a return to top form, this race offers a great opportunity to earn an IAAF World Championship qualifying mark of 1:45.50. Other Kenyans in the race are Jonathan Kitilit and Michael Saruni.

However, the focus will be on the vintage race, the 1,500m, which brings together the six top performers of the year, most notably Timothy Cheruiyot, the defending champion and world silver medalist.

With world champion Elijah Manangoi out with a hamstring injury, Cheruiyot will step up to fill the void and win his fourth race in the circuit after Stockholm, Prefontaine Classic, Doha and Oslo.

Kenya’s world silver medalist took almost a second off the Lausanne meeting record at last Friday’s Diamond League meeting, clocking 3:28.77, the fastest recorded this season.

He also set a then personal best of 3:28.41 in winning last year’s 1500m in Monaco.

Facing him again will be Norwegian brothers Filip and 18-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen, European champions at this distance in 2016 and 2018 respectively. The latter clocked 3:30.16 in Lausanne, a pending world U20 record.

Others in the field include Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera, who set a world indoor record of 3:31.39 earlier this year, Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman, who has run 3:30.79 this season, and Ronald Musagala of Uganda, who has clocked 3:31.33.

In the men’s 3000m steeplechase, Kenya’s contingent will include Nicholas Bett, Leonard Bett, Abraham Kibiwot, Benjamin Kigen, Lawrence Kipsang na Barnabas Kipyego.

Kenya not to sack French coach Migne despite Africa Nations Cup loss

by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Frenchman Sebastian Migne will not be relieved of his duties as Kenya’s Harambee Stars head coach despite his team failing to get past the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Football Federation of Kenya president Nick Mwendwa said in Nairobi on Tuesday they will honor the Frenchman’s three-year contract with demands he guides the team to qualify for the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon and the World Cup.

Kenya picked only three points after beating neighbors Tanzania in Cairo in the ongoing AFCON.

However, they lost to Algeria and Senegal to bow out.

"We never tasked Migne with the demand to win the 2019 AFCON. His task is to help Kenya secure qualification to AFCON in 2021 and see if he can guide us to 2022 World Cup," Mwendwa said.

"Remember Migne only took over in May 2018 from Belgian Paul Put after we had lost our first qualifying match to Sierra Leone.

Then we were not certain of even qualifying for the AFCON. His main task is to ensure that we qualify for the 2021 and get the team past the group stage."

Egypt’s coach Javier Aguirre became the first causality to lose his job after the infamous loss to South Africa in the round of 16 match last Sunday.

Already, Tanzania’s coach Emmanuel Amunike, an ex-Super Eagles coach, has also been send packing after Taifa Stars failed to sparkle in Egypt. Amunike has been coach of Tanzania since 6 August 2018.

Uganda who were eliminated by Senegal in the round of 16 have also parted ways with their French coach Sebastien Desabre through mutually agreement.

"The reasons for termination of the employment contract are for the benefit and growth of both parties," said Federation of Uganda Football.

Kenya hopes to rebuild from scratch ahead of the World Cup qualification while Migne, who is in France on holiday, is expected to return to Nairobi to steer the country’s team to the Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifiers, with match against Tanzania in August.

"We have to start somewhere to build Kenyan football. Uganda Cranes went to the 2017 event in Gabon and failed to win a single match, this time they reached the last 16, that kind of progress is what we are eyeing and the ongoing championship was a good learning opportunity," said Mwendwa.

Kenya team pitched camp in France prior to their assignment in Egypt, but still failed to tilt the scales to their advantage at the AFCON.

Kenya turns focus to Africa Nations Championships after AFCON exit

by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya will shift focus to the upcoming African Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifiers after exiting the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa said Wednesday that the team did its best despite failing on the first test and being eliminated in the AFCON group stage.

Kenya’s team Harambee Stars is due to arrive in Nairobi on Thursday morning from Cairo, Egypt.

Harambee Stars picked up just one win and suffered two losses in Group C, finishing third behind Algeria and Senegal.

Tanzania was the last team in the group having lost all its three games.

The first eight teams to be bundled out of the AFCON are Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

"Our focus now shifts to the upcoming African Nations Championships qualifiers where Harambee Stars takes on Tanzania in the first round set to be played on July 28 in Dar es Salaam," said Mwendwa.

The second leg of CHAN is slated for August 4 in Nairobi.

Kenya captain Victor Wanyama, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League, said he is proud of the country’s performance as Kenya returned to the AFCON after 15 years’ hiatus.

"I am proud of the players and staff because everyone gave their best.

"Sometimes we do mistakes but we are only human and the most important thing for us is to learn from the mistakes.

"I am proud of everyone because we gave our best and we fought in every match," said Wanyama.

"We have learnt a lot and I know we will have another qualification and the lessons we have taken from here will help us come back.

"We will sure be a better side when we return," said Wanyama.

Kenya to play Tanzania again in CHAN qualifiers

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Tanzania and Kenya will see no love lost between them when the two east African countries renew their rivalry after battling out at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

The two have been paired together for the first round of the 2020 African Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifiers set for this month.

Kenya’s Harambee Stars will launch their title campaign with an away match in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on July 27, with the second leg set to be played in Nairobi on Aug 4.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa said on Tuesday that Confederation of African Football (CAF) has opted to re-draw the pools for the qualifiers.

"Kenya was scheduled to face Burundi in fixtures released by CAF early this year.

"However, Kenya now has a new opponent in the Taifa Stars following CAF’s decision to include Djibouti and tournament hosts Ethiopia in the qualification phase," said Mwendwa on Tuesday.

The aggregate winner of the two-legged qualifier will face off with either Ethiopia or Djibouti in the second and final qualifying round, to be played on a date set to be announced in due course.

The final tournament, reserved for players actively featuring in their respective national championships, has been scheduled for January 2020 in Ethiopia.

It will be Kenya’s re-match against Tanzania, which comes after the Harambee Stars beat their east African neighbors 3-2 in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations Group C match played on June 27 in Cairo, Egypt.

The win consequently boosted Kenya’s chances of earning a place in the round of 16 of the continent’s premier competition.

Coach Sebastian Migne has already named a 34-man squad of home-based players for the assignment.


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