David Macharia @peoplesport11
Laikipia County Governor, Ndiritu Muriithi yesterday called on two athletics powerhouses in Africa – Kenya and Ethiopia to jointly put up anti-doping laboratory for the sake of integrity in sports.
Just a day after shocking news about sensational Celliphine Chespol missed tests, the governor’s comments have come as a wake-up call for the fraternity that has been rocked by top-level doping cases in the last two years.
Athletics Kenya (AK) National Executive Committee (NEC) member Barnaba Korir, directly hit by the athlete’s accusation distanced himself from allegations, maintaining clean hands in the whole saga.
Governor Ndiritu said the two countries need to revisit a past mutual agreement they had to come up with a World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory to deal with use of drugs in sports.
“Kenya has been under the WADA watch list and such a laboratory would help the country regain its respect in upholding sports integrity,” he said. Speaking when he officially opened the fourth annual conference for Laikipia University, the governor challenged the University to invest in producing sports managers who will be helping Kenya’s sports people procure and understand contracts they enter into.
This year’s conference is focusing on sports under the theme, “Sports for Sustainable Development in Kenya and Beyond” The governor said with a good manager, an athlete will not disrupt his training session to go and negotiate contracts, saying, “it is upon the manager to ensure the athletes get income-generating deals with international brands or companies.”
He said the country also needs law that will protect sports people from being exploited by foreign managers.
The governor said he is interested in seeing the kind of contracts athletes, particularly those going to Japan sign. Nyahururu is one area that sends many runners to the Far East country each year.
He urged those aspiring to be coaches to take advantage of sports science and coaching programmes offered by Laikipia University so that they can learn how to offer professionally designed coaching programmes to their charges.
“We also want the sports men and women to pursue education so that they can learn life skills that can sustain them beyond their sporting careers,” the governor said.
Kenyan sporting legends John Ngugi, Peter Dawo, Matthew Birir and Richard Matelong who were present shared their life experience, both at celebrity level and after.
The governor said the sports people need sports managers so as to avoid slipping back to poverty after sporting life and able to know what their benefits are in the contracts they sign. “That is why I challenge the business department of this university to know we need sports managers in Kenya and train them in management skills that can help sports people not just prosper in careers but also be able to handle athletes during traumatic periods like injuries,” Ndiritu said.