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Come down hard on those abetting doping

By The Standard | January 16th 2016 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has presented its damning report on the state of doping and general management of global athletics. The lead investigator, Dick Pound, gave a scathing indictment of the world track and field ruling body, IAAF. The report stated in no uncertain terms that the former President of IAAF, Lamine Diack, was the architect of fraud and corruption at the heart of the athletics body, and that his two sons and others extorted and blackmailed athletes who tested positive to performance-enhancing substances.

Mr Pound tellingly reported that Kenya has a serious doping problem, which needs further investigation. Their mandate was restricted to Russia and IAAF. Russia has since been sanctioned and suspended from all international competitions, including the forthcoming Olympic Games in Brazil.

Corrupt practices at the IAAF reflects what is going on in Athletics Kenya, whose former three top officials are currently serving six-month suspensions for not too dissimilar improprieties. That shows the rot in the sport which has put Kenya firmly on top of the world. Doping is not something Kenyans can wish away. It is real. It is here. We have rotten apples in the midst of our athletes, and equally rotten coaches, doctors and officials who administer doping or collude with those doing it, for monetary gain. They are the ones putting Kenya’s image at great risk, besides putting their own lives on the line.

Doping kills, and why some officials cover up its findings explains how low our society has sunk. In the event that the IAAF Ethics Commission will turn its guns blazing on Kenya, it may not look pretty. This is why we commend the forces behind the formation of Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya and the government arms tasked to give it teeth to bite. It is welcome news that a piece of legislation is already on the works, with the input of Wada, to be presented to Parliament when it re-opens to criminalise doping.

More than 40 athletes have failed dope tests in the past four years alone. We are informed many more are out there and that their results were not announced because they bribed some officials at the gatekeeping of this process. The entire global athletics leadership is stinking and a major paradigm shift in its management, complete with revolutionary reforms and strict checks and balances, must be put in place for it to regain its credibility.

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