What you need to know:
- Category “A” requires Kenyan athletes to undergo three out-of-competition doping tests 10 months before any World Athletics Championships and Olympic Games
- ADAK conducted the first of the two education sessions in Eldoret on Tuesday and the second one will take place at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi on Wednesday
- ADAK’s head of education and research Martin Yauma said that the education series are to bring athletes up to speed on World Athletics rules ahead of the World Championships
Kenya’s participation at the World Athletics Championships and Olympic Games has in the recent past taken centre stage for wrong reasons rather than performances.
When World Athletics placed Kenya in category “A” of the countries where doping is prevalent, it came with grave repercussions geared towards a clean World Athletics Championships and Olympics.
Kenya has perhaps ended up missing medals in some events where its medal hopefuls were barred from competing not having fulfilled either category “A” requirements or violated some anti-doping rules.
Mark Otieno failed to start his 100 metres race at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after he was flagged down for violating some anti-doping rules by taking a banned substance.
Lawrence Cherono suffered a similar fate when about to compete in a marathon at the World Athletics Championships in July in Oregon, United States of America.
Daniel Simiu and Nicholas Kimeli finished second and third respectively in 5,000m during the trials but couldn’t represent Kenya at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha after failing to meet some of Category “A” requirements.
Similar case happened to Etyang Kamar, who had qualified I to represented Kenya in 1,500m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and Amos Serem (3,000m steeplechase) and Selah Jepleting (10,000m) who has qualified for the World Athletics Championships in July in Oregon, United States of America.
Category “A” requires Kenyan athletes to undergo three out-of-competition doping tests 10 months before any World Athletics Championships and Olympic Games. One of the tests must be a blood test and the tests must be done two weeks apart.
Education too has been key to the requirements from World Athletics’ Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU).
However, the Anti-doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) is determined to alleviate some of these mishaps ahead of the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary and 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
ADAK has now taken the initiative to educate the athletes starting with athletes who have either attained the qualifying standards or are likely to compete in Budapest.
ADAK conducted the first of the two education sessions in Eldoret on Tuesday and the second one will take place at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Up to 40 athletes were invited for the Eldoret session. They include Eva Cherono, Edward Zakayo, two-time 800m Commonwealth Games champion Wycliffe Kinyamal, World Under-20 3,000m steeplechase champion Faith Cherotich, Commonwealth Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Jackline Chepkoech among others.
ADAK’s head of education and research Martin Yauma said that the education series are to bring athletes up to speed on World Athletics rules ahead of the World Championships.
“This is just a discussion with the athletes and ours is to make sure we have a clean group of athletes who will be representing Kenya in the global events,” said Yauma.
He said that quick money has been the main cause of anti-doping violations and the agency is working hard to make sure that athletes are made aware of how they can still get money by training well and using the right diet.
“Our plea to athletes is to always train hard, eat well and manage injuries well because that’s the safest way to get wealth through fair competition,” he added.
Athletics Kenya executive committee member Barnaba Korir, who launched the education series in Eldoret, said that the testing system is getting tighter and athletes must be brought up to speed on the happenings.
“We now must identify athletes who are probable and have them educated and tested for the World Championships,” said Korir.
He added that Kenya is still under the watch list and that AIU will give further instructions next year where the country could remain or be withdrawn from category "A".
“Imparting knowledge on athletes is a must for us and if you see the athletes being flagged down, it shows that the systems are working and there will be no shortcut for anyone thinking of using a banned substance because they will be smoked out,” he said.
He added that one of the requirements from World Athletics is for the government of Kenya to commit and fund ADAK so that they can implement their mandate in fighting doping menace.