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
“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)
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
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
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.