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ADAK says most of Paris-bound athletes tested

 ADAK CEO Sarah Shibutse (left) and the agency's board chairman Daniel Makdwallo during a tree planting exercise in Msekekwa Forest block, Elgeyo Marakwet County. [Stephen Rutto, Standard]

The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya has said nearly all athletes who have met qualifying standards for 2024 Paris Olympics have complied with mandatory testing ahead of the July/August showpiece.

The agency said it has adhered to Category A World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stringent rules, which requires athletes from countries that are top in the global body’s watch list to be tested three times prior to international championships.

ADAK Chief Executive Officer Sarah Shibutse said yesterday that the agency had done its bit in anti-doping control.

“We have tested almost all athletes who will be in Team Kenya. They have the mandatory requirements, which are testing and education,” Shibutse told Standard Sports.

The CEO said Kenya will send a cleaner team to the Paris Olympics, following enhanced testing as a result of a rigorous testing programme spearheaded by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and local agencies.

“For the Olympics, we have done our bit as ADAK. We have the enhanced programme which is undertaken in collaboration with the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and Athletics Kenya (AK),” she said.

She went on to say: “This time round we are taking a cleaner team than we took to previous editions.”

We have collected and tested 4,000 samples since early last year.

“Each of those athletes have at least one test. This is to ensure that any athletes who have qualified in an international event can participate. AK has been giving us the names that we need,” she said.

Shibutse led a team of top ADAK officials and board members in a tree planting exercise in Msekekwa near Iten in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

She expressed concerns over the rising number of Kenyan athletes being slapped with harsher sanctions because of violating more than one anti-doping rule at the same time.

“The terms are becoming harsher because athletes are violating more than one anti-doping rule.

“If they have presence (of banned substances) and have an issue of whereabouts failures or tampering or evading, that then adds to the harshness of the sanction,” said Shibutse.

The anti-doping agency boss said athletes should not flee from anti-doping control officers.

“We are here to ensure that the clean athlete is protected,” she added.

Like their athletics counterparts, Shibutse said, team sports that have qualified for the Olympics are also being tested and educated.

On the forest regeneration exercise in Elgeyo Forest, Shibutse said the agency was taking the lead in creating a better training environment.

“Most athletes train in the high altitude area and a forest cover will help in ensuring that they get better oxygen. Apart from educating and testing, we can create a better environment,” she said.

ADAK head of legal services Bildad Rogoncho said the war against doping has been hampered by practitioners who were colluding with cheats to falsify medical records.

Rogoncho said the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has helped the agency to nab medics helping cheats to falsify documents.

He said AIU was helping ADAK legal team in a number of aspects, especially in exchange of data.

“We have a collaboration with the judiciary. We can adjudicate our cases. It's working well for us. Our collaboration with the DCI has helped us to nab some medical personnel falsifying documents to indicate that some athletes took banned substances because they were suffering from some ailments,” he said.

The head of legal services said suppliers of banned substances for the purpose of helping athletes to dope, was one of the biggest challenges.

He said ADAK was working with pharmacists and the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union to nab rogue medical practitioners derailing the fight against doping.

“We nabbed a rogue medical practitioner in Kapsabet through collaboration with medics,” said Rogoncho.

ADAK board chairman Daniel Makdwallo said the enhanced testing had stopped cheats from taking part in global races.

Makdwallo said the Category A ranking was expensive because it requires enhanced testing of athletes.

“Being in Category A demands for resources. It is cheaper to educate rather than testing,” he said. 

More than 2,000 seedlings were planted in the exercise.

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