Adak raises concern as many athletes run away from testing

Athletes and stakeholders during an anti-doping sensitization in Kapsabet, Nandi County on November 11. [Stephen Rutto, Standard]

The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (Adak) is concerned about athletes running away from testing.

On Saturday, the agency said a crackdown aimed at nabbing athletes dodging anti-doping personnel in an ongoing massive testing, had commenced.

Adak announced that it had roped in community elders and national government administration in the fight against doping.

Tens of community elders, athletes, administrators and county officials underwent sensitisation at the Eliud Kipchoge Sports Complex in Kapsabet, Nandi County in a programme spearheaded by Adak.

Adak Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sarah Shibutse said the agency was concerned by the revelations.

Shibutse said running away from testing personnel was an indication that the athletes, who are on the run, were involved in cheating.

The CEO said Adak was in the process of gathering information that would identify the athletes who are on the run while listing their support personnel.

"We are now getting to know their information. We are gathering information about their training camps, their coaches and their managers," Shibutse said.

She went ahead to say: "We suspect that it (running away from (Adak) personnel is a vice that has been normalised and going on in certain training camps."

Shibutse said the agency will recommend the closure and sanctioning of some training camps after conclusion of an ongoing investigation.

On involvement of elders in the war against doping, the CEO said: "The elders know the athletes and are respected. They will help us spread the message because the athletes listen to them."

She said at least 2,000 samples from athletes in the testing pool have been collected for analysis since January, and the results would be out soon.

Adak board chairman Daniel Makdwallo also described the menace as worrying and cautioned those found running away from testing personnel that they will be nabbed in the ongoing crackdown.

Makdwallo said Adak will not relent in the ongoing 'clean up exercise.'

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba who graced the exercise in Kapsabet said his ministry had declared a zero tolerance to doping. Ababu said Sh3.7 billion was set aside to facilitate the war against doping and save Kenya from being banned from international championships.

"We want these resources put to good use. We already have a multi-agency team comprising National Intelligence Service, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Ministry of Health and the judiciary among other agencies, in place," Ababu said. The CS said the ongoing grassroots engagements were critical in the anti-doping programmes.

"We are in extraordinary circumstances. Today a record broken by a Kenyan would take months to be confirmed because of doping suspicions. We are now running under suspicion. We are put under the microscope.

"We are going to disrupt the doping network," he said.

Ababu said some Kenyan athletes were victims of a doping racket in the country.

"We must go for the coaches and agents. If you are running a training camp classified as a doping spot, we are coming for you. We will go to the source. You better lose honourably than to win unfairly," Ababu said.

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