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Athletics

Kenya Athletics Going Tough: To Ban Visitors To Athletes’s Training Camp

In what looks like ‘putting house in order’ by Kenya Athletics authority and put to stop the recent unabated doping infringement involving Kenyan athletes.

The president of Athletics Kenya, Jack Tuwei has hinted of a new regulations that will impose bans on unauthorised individuals visiting athletes’ training camps, some of whom have been suspected of abetting in doping, while others lay false claims on the operations of these training camps to create sensational headlines.

Last week, Arve Bergan, a Norwegian freelance journalist, made sensational claims published in European media to the effect that used syringes were found at Iten’s Kamariny Stadium, claiming this “discovery” pointed at widespread doping in Kenyan athletics. Both AK and Kenyan police authorities are investigating these claims.

When Bergan was challenged to back his allegations, he said he had reported the same to Norwegian police who, however, have no jurisdiction over Kenya.

In-addition, any kenya suspended for doping offences will not be allowed to compete both locally and internationally after they complete their sentences, Athletics Kenya (AK) has said.

In a move aimed at tightening the grip on drug cheats and deterring would-be offenders, AK also say they are considering withdrawing passports of athletes sanctioned for the use of banned performance-enhancin

In an interview with Nation Sport, Tuwei said the proposed stringent measures against such offenders include terminating their employment contracts should they be serving in the uniformed forces that include the National Police Service, Kenya Defence Forces and Kenya Prisons Service.

So far, about 55 Kenyan athletes are serving bans of between two and eight years for various doping offences.

But Tuwei said despite the increasing numbers, the association will not relent in their war against doping in Kenya.

“We have developed a rule in AK that athletes who have been caught doping and who have served suspensions will not be allowed to compete in both local and international competitions after completing their bans,” Tuwei said.

“We have already banned such athletes from competing for Kenya, and we are working with other agencies to consider even withdrawing the passports of these athletes so that it’s not business as usual after they serve their bans.”

The retired Lieutenant-General, a former Commander of the Kenya Army, said AK has discussed various aspects of anti-doping control with the uniformed forces and will come up with testing protocol with offenders expected to be ejected from the forces.

“Some of the athletes caught doping are employees of the government. They cannot be allowed to continue working for a government they have messed,” Tuwei said.

There have been increased cases of flouting of the “whereabouts rule” and in the uniformed services, the doping control officers have been unable to access athletes because they are in training in restricted areas,” he explained.

“We have discussed with the (uniformed forces) authorities that these doping control officers should be escorted by the authorities to where these athletes are so that they don’t miss the ‘whereabouts’ tests, because if the athletes miss up to three visits by these officers, they will end up being banned not because of a fault of their own, but simply because they were in restricted areas.”

Tuwei said the athletes so far busted for doping have shamed the nation and betrayed the government’s trust in them.

“The government, and His Excellency the President, are supporting the athletes by looking at how the most vulnerable athletes can be assisted during this Covid-19 pandemic, but the few athletes caught doping are simply not reciprocating this gesture and are giving the country a bad name instead,” Tuwei observed.

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