Former 100m national record holder Mark Otieno blames his anti-doping violation positive test result on a contaminated nutritional supplement and appeals for lesser punishment from Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) compared to the standard four-year ban from the Anti-doping watchdog.
Speaking to Carol Radull on her YouTube channel, emotional Otieno who was flanked by his Stephanie was due to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last year but was denied the opportunity after failing the test following an adverse analytical finding for an anabolic-androgenic steroid in his urine sample and was provisional suspended.
"We had to take a sample of the supplement I was using to a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited lab thus confirming my suspicions one of the nutritional supplements that I had been using was contaminated with an undisclosed banned substance," Otieno revealed during the interview.
Otieno while narrating his ordeal, admit to having a rough and lonely time following the incident that has also forced him to take unpaid leave from his place of work to concentrate on a fight to clear his name and enable him to compete again.
"I worked so hard in training, travelled globally to look for qualification time prior to the National Trials, and eventually got it. Previous I had been tested for seven years, and I have never violated the Anti-doping rules, the incident really depressed me and my family," he said.
He added: "I have stayed committed to the disciplinary process I was put under, even as I continue to pursue the avenues to clear my name and compete again."
The 28-year-old admits many athletes are using the same supplement that gave him the problem and it's just a matter of time before being netted for violation.
"The supplement is in the market and it's being used by athletes unknowingly, and all of its ingredients are not labelled, it's a matter of time before the athletes are sanctioned for violation," he cautioned.
The AIU and Anti-doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) has maintained that it is the athlete’s responsibility to ensure no prohibited substance enters their body.
According to AIU athletes are responsible for knowing what substances and methods are considered banned on the prohibited list. The presence of a prohibited substance in an athlete’s sample, or the use of a prohibited substance constitutes a doping offence.
Previously, Otieno had presented Kenya at the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and World Relays Championships.