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Kenya needs to invest much to protect sporting talent: official

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya needs to invest a lot of resources in order to protect sporting talent, a government official said on Saturday.

Government Spokesman, Eric Kiraithe, said additional resources should be deployed in order to sensitize promising sportsmen and women on the dangers of engaging in unfair competition practices like doping.

“Athletes should not destroy their natural talent through unfair practices like doping but should exploit their adorable talent alongside hard training in their quest to improve their economic status through running,” the spokesman told Xinhua.

Kiraithe made the remarks in the wake of the busting of Olympic marathon champion, Jemima Sumgong, during an out-of-competition test by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) officials.

He said it is unfortunate for a young talent like Sumgong to be destroyed in such a manner, adding that the incident will put the country in the limelight for the wrong reasons.

“It is not unlawful for athletes to get rich quickly, but this should happen within the requisite permitted parameters under the rules of honesty and integrity,” Kiraithe said in the wake of the latest developments.

The 32-year old, the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic marathon gold medal when she triumphed in Rio, failed an out-of-competition dope test when she tested positive for banned blood booster, EPO in a test conducted in her native Kenya.

Ironically, earlier this year, Sumgong was one of a number of top Kenyan athletes who welcomed a new initiative to eradicate doping by agreeing to be monitored by doctors appointed by the IAAF and Athletics Kenya.

Kiraithe said athletes are exposed only to their agents, managers and coaches in the course of their running careers and hence it was of paramount importance for them to make the right choices of the individuals they seek to work with.

Sumgong starred at the London Marathon last year to defy the odds to win despite suffering a bruising fall.

Buoyed by her success in London, she then became the first Kenyan woman to win Olympic marathon to confirm her status as the world’s top marathon runner of 2016.

Before claims of positive drugs test emerged, Sumgong vowed to defend her London title on April 23.



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