February 26th 2018

Sports / In-Depth

Kenya must get out of IAAF 'dope' watch-list

Top IAAF anti-doping officials Thomas Capdeville and Kyle Barber, held a closed-door meeting with Athletics Kenya (AK)  and Sports Arts and Culture ministry officials  in Nairobi and later addressed a press conference.

By David JagongoTuesday, 07 Mar 2017 14:00 EAT

Jemima Sumgong, who won the 2016 Rio Olympics marathon also boasts the London Rotterdam and Las Vegas Marathons titles.

Much as IAAF anti-doping officials  Monday lauded Kenya for making steady progress in the bid to be removed from the IAAF watch-list, a lot more needs to be done. Much more has be done if Kenya is to be removed from the black book before the 2017 IAAF World Championships, set for August in London.

Top IAAF anti-doping officials Thomas Capdeville and Kyle Barber held a closed-door meeting with Athletics Kenya (AK) and Sports Arts and Culture ministry officials in Nairobi and later addressed a press conference. Capdeville is the acting IAAF Anti-Doping Department Director, while Barber is the Out-Of-Competition Testing Co-ordinator.

The duo also also met the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to establish the kind of ground Kenya had covered in the setting up of  comprehensive anti-doping machinery and system in the country. The officials were also keen on establishing the steps Kenya had taken as it marched towards beating its self-set June deadline.

Kenya, Morocco, Ethiopia and Belarus and Ukraine were put on the anti-doping watch list in 2016 following doping scandals involving athletes from the six countries. The blacklisting was extended to this year. The fact that they released a road to ensuring full compliance with anti-doping protocols prescribed by the IAAF, means there is work to be done and Kenyan authorities should not rest on their laurels in the belief that they have covered reasonable grounds. 

"It was a very fruitful meeting, we had all the commitments we were expecting from all the various sectors around the table,the commitments and we worked on an action plan, very practical steps not about very vague and general,'' said Capdeville. "It was practical meeting we are operational people and it was good to see we have all the commitments that we wanted and we can coordinate towards protecting clean Kenyan athletes," he added said. 

The IAAF officials  went through  practical topics around how to improve the domestic national testing program and how they can can make it complementary to the IAAF programme. AK President Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei  and ADAK CEO Japhter Rugut  say they are going through the IAAF Report with a view to identifying areas the country needs to work on in a bid to attain full compliance, bearing in mind that  the IAAF team will be back in April. April is not far, its actually next month. The fact that they will be back a few weeks after the current visit, reflects the seriousness of the matter.

That the IAAF is so keen on removing Kenya from the watch-list and getting her back on track, says something about the East African nation, which is home to some of the best athletes in the world. The country's athletics prowess is not in doubt, its clearly reflected in the medal haul in various international events, among them the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, where Kenya scooped 13 medals - 6 gold, 6- silver and 1 bronze-all in athletics.

The cheaters, the drug cheats, the athletes who put Kenya in this mess, must search their souls and mend their ways. They have been punished by IAAF and certainly know by now that there is no short cut to success. Kenyan authorities - Athletics Kenya, Sports Ministry, ADAK and the National Treasury must put their heads together return Kenya where it belongs. We must get out of the watch-list.

Kenyan athletes are the country's best ambassadors-those in doubt should ask themselves the number of times the Kenya National Anthem was played in Rio-six times   a reflection of the number of gold medals bagged.


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