NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Elite Kenyan runners are piling
pressure on Athletics Kenya (AK) to act fast and do more to curb
the escalating doping cases and save the country’s image in
Former Boston marathon
champion Wesley Korir, New York marathon silver medalist Mary
Keitany and steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech
have called on Athletics Kenya to step up their fight against
Speaking in Eldoret on Sunday the athletes have petitioned
Kenya’s athletics governing body to be proactive and take the
war on doping head on even as the country has been listed among
the top five where athletes are likely to cheat.
Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) is due to make public the
names of athletes suspended in the last one year and what they
are doing to fight the scourge.
"Kenya’s athletics officials must take charge and keep away
these doping athletes and those abetting it. We will not go far
if we try to take a short cut," said Keitany.
Kenya together with Ukraine, Belarus, Morocco and Ethiopia
have been placed under category One of the countries likely to
cheat and this means its athletes will be tested three times
before competing at the World Championships.
"It is time somebody took charge. Heads must roll and those
aiding doping are taken seriously and kicked out of the country
and stay away from our athletes. I will not stay quiet yet our
children are being exploited and misused. For the next
generation to be successful, we need to take serious issues
affecting our athletes," said Korir.
Steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech said it
was wrong to cheat.
It is like stealing because you are not supposed to have any
advantage over the other in sports," she said.
This comes just days after World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
approved the establishment of a laboratory for Athlete
Biological Passport (ABP) blood analysis in Nairobi.
The LANCET Group of Labs will be the first of its kind in
East Africa and will be opened in Nairobi next week.
The laboratory is expected to analyze between 800 and 1,000
blood samples a year as part of the Athletics Integrity Unit
(AIU) doping control program in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda,
Tanzania and Eritrea.
"Starting in early September, the laboratory in Nairobi will
perform blood analyses to support the (AIU) program as well as
other anti-doping programs operating in the area such as that of
the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK)," said ADAK Chief
Executive Officer Japhter Rugut.
This will significantly lower the cost of processing
anti-doping tests. Before the establishment of the laboratory,
Kenya and other East Africa countries had to send their sample
collection tests to South Africa, Qatar, Switzerland or Germany,
which was time consuming and costly.