National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) president Paul Tergat yesterday called for a new approach to deal with the doping menace that now threatens to strip Kenya of its track glory.
The former marathon world record holder was speaking in the wake of reports that over 50 Kenyan athletes are on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) watch list and says deeper conversations are needed to come up with lasting solutions.
“It is obvious that whatever has been done is not yielding results and a new approach is needed. Doping must be treated as the criminal act it is as opposed to sweeping the evil under the carpet in the pretext of confi dentiality while in essence we are destroying the whole nation,” said Tergat yesterday during an event organised to fete medallists of last month’s Commonwealth Games.
His sentiments come barely a week after one of Kenya’s top athlete Asbel Kiprop was reported to have failed a doping test and amid fresh claims that the country has 53 athletes among 363 who have been linked to prohibited drug use as reported a 2015 dossier compiled by IAAF.
“Those caught doping must face the severest sanctions possible. The government is going out of its way to prepare teams for these competitions and it would be unfair if the country got sanctions due to the selfi sh actions of a few people,” added Tergat, further warning that if a speedy intervention is not sought, Kenya might fi nd itself on the same level with countries like Russia.
“They (Russia) were once a sporting power house, where are they now? If such was to happen to Kenya, we would be denying our youth a chance to use their talent and it would be unfair. This must come to an end,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei who termed doping a choice and not a mistake that brings no glory, urging athletes to keep themselves informed on the banned substances and ensure they are in charge of anything that they consume as opposed to blindly trusting second parties.
Meanwhile, Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa says athletes’ welfare is top of his agenda and issues of delayed or nonpayment are going to be a thing of the past.
Echesa seems to be walking the talk as for once, Commonwealth medallists were rewarded just a few weeks after the event unlike the past when it has taken months or even years.