James Magayi @magayijim
Athletics Kenya in conjunction with Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) has organised a seminar for all competitors in tomorrow’s National Cross-Country Championships.
The seminar, which takes place today at Milele Hotel in Nairobi’s South C, is expected to train over 500 athletes on the dangers of doping to an athlete’s running career as well as their personal health. Each of AK’s 12 branches and four affiliates will present six athletes in the five-race categories and the federation opted to capitalise on the runners’ convergence to educate them.
ADAK and AK are coordinating joint efforts in fighting the menace, which has thrust Kenya into a watch list for countries that have a higher doping prevalence.
Already, two athletes have been sanctioned for doping offences committed last year and the two bodies want to stem the flow of failed tests by enlightening athletes on what the vice entails.
World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) reviews its list of banned substances annually and ADAK alongside AK have taken the initiative of educating athletes on changes whenever they occur. Among those expected to be in attendance today are 5,000m world champions Helen Obiri, who blazed her way to a gold in London last year as well as Elijah Manangoi the mile world gold medallist.
Obiri will represent Kenya Defence Forces in the 10km senior women’s race while Manangoi will anchor the National Police Service mixed relay team. Africa Cross-Country Champions Alice Aprot and James Rungaru will represent Kenya Prisons and Central Branch respectively.
Coaches, managers and physiotherapists have also been invited for the seminar in what AK vice president Paul Mutwii termed as total war on doping. “Most inquests into failed doping tests among Kenyan athletes implicate athletes’ handlers and therefore we also need to sensitise them on what to do and what not to.
Some commit these offences without really knowing until grave consequences unravel,” said Mutwii. He added: “Knowledge is power so if these athletes are taught early enough they will be able to make wise decisions and avoid silly mistakes that cost them career-wise.”