By Gilbert Wandera
Athletics Kenya will carry out dope tests in all its sanctioned events, starting with Safaricom Mombasa International marathon on Sunday, to address rising concerns over possible cheating.
Isaiah Kiplagat, AK chairman, said they will no longer take chances with the matter. He was speaking when he received Sh1.5 million cheque from Safaricom for the sponsorship of this year’s Mombasa International marathon to be run on Sunday.
“I want to inform participants that we will carry out random anti dope test during the Mombasa marathon and all other events after that. This will now be a standard requirement in all our championships.”
“There have been a lot of concerns about this issue and now we want to take steps to ensure that our athletes are not involved. We are taking it very seriously,” said Kiplagat.
Four months ago a German television station alleged that some top Kenyan runners were using drugs to enhance their performance and Kiplagat said they are following leads provided to them by the investigative journalist who aired the report.
He thanked Safaricom for the donation and announced that plans are underway to use the Mombasa marathon and two others to promote tourism in the country.
“This marathon is very important and we have always desired to use together with the Lewa and Maasai Mara marathon as part of sports tourism. Last year we have over 100 participants and some of them were visiting tourists. We intend to build on this so that it can be used to promote the country,” added Kiplagat.
Speaking at the same function, Safaricom Sponsorship manager Wangui Kibe said they are satisfied with the organization of the event and it is the reason they increased this year’s sponsorship by almost fifty percent.
She reiterated her company’s commitment to supporting sports and athletics specifically as a way to promote and interact with the youths.
Most of the sponsorship money will go towards prize money for winning athletes. The winners in both the men and women category will walk home with a Sh200,000 while runners-up get Sh100,000.
Third placed athletes will earn Sh50,000 with the fourth earning Sh20,000 and fifth placed pocketing Sh17,500. Sixth placed athletes will get Sh15,000, seventh (Sh12,500), eighth (Sh10,000), ninth (Sh7,500) and tenth placed (Sh5,000).