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ELECTION 2022

There is need for Athletics Kenya to contain doping menace

OPINION
By The Standard | Apr 12th 2017 | 2 min read
Olympic Marathon gold medallist Jemimah Sumgong PHOTO:COURTESY

Reports that Olympic Marathon gold medallist Jemimah Sumgong tested positive for the banned Erythropoietin marks the darkest moment in Kenya's athletics. Granted, it may only be Sumgong's 'A' sample pending results of the 'B' sample.
 

However, it makes little difference because it is from the A sample that the B sample is taken. For the last five years athletics officials have been asked to arrest the growing list of athletes using banned substances yet nothing has been done.
 

Every time an athlete is busted, the response has been that those are nondescript athletes trying to make a quick buck. Rita Jeptoo, who is serving a four-year ban and now Sumgong, are no athletes of mean repute. They have won major marathons around the globe.
 

Sumgong's case must now make us ask the hard questions. Who knew what and when.
With over 43 athletes now busted, it is curious that four of them are elite athletes; Matthew Kisorio, Agatha Jeruto, Rita Jeptoo and now Sumgong belong to camp Rosa e Associati. It has been argued that Rosa e Associati cannot be so naïve as to assist their athletes to cheat.
 

Just before the Olympics, two of the agents Gabriele and Federico Rosa were arraigned at Kibera Law Courts only for their case to be terminated. Add that to Athletics Kenya and the National Olympic Committee's nonchalance.
 

They should have raised the red flag the moment the athletes posted impressive times.
Lowering one's personal best record in a marathon by more than four, let alone the five or eight minutes these athletes have posted raises more questions than answers.
 

The casual manner with which doping is being handled will soon boomerang on the country's reputation.
 

Remember Kenya is no yet out of the doping watch list. It is thus a matter of time before the international bodies put Kenya in the same bracket as discredited Russia. Of course unless something is done.

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