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Use of steroids rampant, athlete admits


Prolific marathoner Ibrahim Mukunga Wachira has disclosed intrigues that happen behind the scenes in the world of athletics all in a bid to secure their win by boosting their performance.

According to Mukunga, testosterone not only helps athletes increase endurance and lean muscle mass but also helps in libido given that much of the hormone is worked up during the race and hence lowering their sex drive.

In an exclusive interview with The Nairobian at his home in Kiarage village in Karatina, Nyeri County, the marathoner said they are always advised to have children at a younger age because the endurance exercises deplete the hormone.

“Low testosterone comes as a consequence of overtraining which is placing your body under more stress than it can handle, sending levels of a hormone called cortisol skyrocketing, which may throw a wrench in your testosterone production,” Mukunga added.

In the tell-all interview, the Helsinki Running Day champion further added that the testosterone booster reacts differently to athletes with some getting uncontrolled sexual desires and could sleep with five women while others become temperamental especially if they don’t exercise.

“Reddening of eyes amongst athletes or looking relatively older than your age is an indication of usage of testosterone booster among athletes,” Mukunga said, adding that while on the race, some substances make athletes to ignore their competitors by hallucinating them as small objects.

Studies have shown that testosterone production is reduced gradually in men starting from the age of 30, hence, testosterone blood concentrations. As a result, men may experience a number of physiological and psychological events, such as a lack of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, acute depression, fatigue, low energy levels, and insomnia

Given that testosterone is a male sex hormone, many of the women who use the booster to accelerate their performance have their bodies produce features associated with masculinity such as substantial muscle mass.

“This is why people mistake female athletes with their male counterparts because of the continued use of the T-booster,” Mukunga added.

Asked how the athletes then escape the dragnet of the anti-doping agencies given that Testosterone is listed under the prohibited list under the Anabolic Agents section of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the athlete said there is always a way out to that.

“For those who use the hormone and other prohibited substances, it is usually an arrangement between their managers and those who test whether there is existence of the illegal substances in their body,” added Mukunga.

Natural methods

However, the 31- year old and the ninth born in a family of 11 some athletes who can afford money get the T-booster are advised to eat foods such as roasted cassavas, yams, maize and bananas, pumpkin seeds, sugarcane among other traditional foods which increases both the energy and libido.

Other abused substances by athletes include use of erythropoietin (EPO) to stimulate the production of more red blood cells, to allow the body transport more oxygen to working muscles and to increase their aerobic capacity and endurance, as well as improve recovery.

While explaining why he was suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) last year for the presence and use of a prohibited substance known as Norandrosterone, Mukunga said ‘it was a case of misunderstanding’.

“I had fallen during my training and broke my patella (kneecap) located at the front of the knee joint and went to the hospital. I was given steroids; anti-inflammatory medicines containing a considerable amount of the prohibited substances without my knowledge,” he said.

Had he communicated with his manager and to the agency about the incident, Mukunga claimed, he would not have been suspended from participating in the marathon.

“However, I later communicated and informed them (AIU) about the incident and I’m hopeful that they will lift the suspension by next year,” Mukunga exuded confidence.

At his home, Mukunga commands respect from his kinsmen for his numerous trips abroad in over 25 countries like Estonia, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Germany among other countries. Other than the Helsinki Running day marathon 2022, Mukunga has won over 100 times in marathons, a move that has seen him bag over 40 medals which he displays at his mother’s cupboard at his home.

In 2017, the father of one became an overnight sensation in a small Nordic country called Estonia by winning a half marathon in his socks. And not only did he win the race, he won big time defeating the 2nd and 3rd place contenders by more than 4 minutes setting a new track record with the time of 1.13.23.

He has also won the Rapla Selver Grand Run half marathon, Tartu Forest Marathon for the sixth time in a row in the same country alongside other races in the world.

He joined the race in 2007 after being inspired by the late Samuel Kamau Wanjiru who later motivated him and connected him to the managers and clubs before he went to Estonia where he joined his training partner Tiidrek Nurme, a long and middle-distance runner and award-winning marathoner.

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