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Doping should be Amina’s main preoccupation in new ministry

The sports fraternity across board has welcomed the new Sports CS, Amina Mohamed with open arms.  All indications are that there is a lot of goodwill for the former Foreign CS, and career diplomat, to turn around the sports sector in the country and pump a breath of fresh air into one of Kenya’s most conspicuous industries.

Kenya is indisputably the bedrock of sporting talent globally especially in track and field events. The Rift Valley is home to some of the world’s most outstanding sportsmen and women.

While there’s already an emerging problem of elderly, legendary sportspeople retiring into oblivion and subsequently dying in squalor, the government has time and again assured of putting in place mechanisms to address their plight.

Doping menace

Perhaps, the diplomat will follow through the effort and ensure that the sports sector has a framework for cushioning our retiring sportspeople from the vagaries of old age.

An unsettling blemish on Kenya’s shining running history is the doping menace that has seen the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) categorise the country as being the most at risk of doping. 

Last year the IAAF placed Kenya in Category A alongside other nations such as Ethiopia, Belarus and Ukraine which stand the greatest risk of doping. Records indicate that the country has so far sanctioned over 50 of its athletes, with a significant number of this figure going to athletics.

High-profile cases

There have been high profile cases that have put the country into the global spotlight such as the Jemimah Sumgong and Rita Jeptoo. The two high-flying runners were the face of Kenya’s girl-power on the athletics stage as their performances electrified the track.

Kenya’s dalliance with the establishment of a serious Anti-Doping programme can be attributed to the flurry of activities following declaration of Non-Compliance to the World Anti-Doping Code by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in February 2016. At that time, Kenyan athletes participaing in the infamous Rio Olympics were preparing themselves for the major event in August that year. – By Simon Mwangi. The author is a communication specialist

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