By John Kwoba
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya is rooting
for the implementation of stiffer penalties including jail
sentences and dismissal from formal employment to athletes who
fail doping tests.
Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jack
Tuwei has petitioned the country’s parliament to pass a law that
will see any drug cheats go to prison and lose their other
employment with Kenyan companies in what is seen as the bravest
fight against the vice.
Speaking in Nairobi on Friday, Tuwei, who appeared before a
parliamentary sports committee at the National Assembly, says
banning the athletes alone was not enough punishment.
"Criminalize doping in the country," Tuwei told Members of
"The government should not employ any athlete who has been
banned for doping offense because it is a criminal act."
Kenyan laws have imposed a fine of only 1,000 U.S. dollars
for anyone found cheating, with a possible jail term for
But the country’s track and field body feels such a
punishment is too lenient and must be revised.
Kenya and Ethiopia head a list of nations categorized by the
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as
being the most at risk of having its athletes engage in doping.
They are joined by Belarus and Ukraine.
Athletes from these Federations selected to compete in major
events will have to undergo at least three out-of-competition
doping tests in the ten months before a World Championships or
Currently, over 50 athletes from Kenya have been reprimanded
and are serving their ban notice for cheating, with the most
famous being former three-time Boston Marathon champion Rita
Jeptoo and Jemimah Sumgong, winner of the Marathon gold medal at
the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Former world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop is also on the
list, but has appealed the verdict saying he was not given a
hearing. His case is yet to be settled.
Others include world 800m bronze medalist Kipyegon Bett, who
tested positive for the banned blood booster Erythropoietin
(EPO) in August.
This year alone, those who have been nabbed include Milan
Marathon champion Lucy Kabuu, and Athens Marathon winner Samuel
Ukraine and Belarus too have long been dogged by accusations
of widespread doping, while in Ethiopia, doping products are
reportedly easily available in the capital Addis Ababa.
Tuwei said Athletics Kenya will be taking the war against
doping a notch higher by intensifying the sensitization program
down to grassroots level.
"The federation has been involved in anti-doping education
activities throughout the year to educate athletes, coaches,
officials and all athlete support personnel on the dangers of
"We have introduced Anti-doping Day which we will celebrate
on November 9 in Elgeyo Markwet," said Tuwei.
international one-day athletics meeting
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya has shelved plans to reintroduce the Tusker
Night of Fame, a one-day international athletics meeting in
Nairobi equivalent to the Diamond League.
The meeting, which was last held in 2014, was due to return
this year, but with Athletics Kenya (AK) yet to secure a
financier, AK vice president Paul Mutwii said on Thursday it was
The one-day meeting costs about two million U.S. dollars to
organize and provide the required prize money.
Kenya is hopeful that global athletics governing body IAAF
will have one leg of its lucrative Diamond League in Nairobi
The only African venue to form part of the Diamond League is
Rabat, which was incorporated last year.
The other 13 legs are in Asia, the USA and Europe.
Speaking in Nairobi after he released the track and field
calendar of events, Mutwii said the focus for next season will
be on the World Cross Country Championships in Denmark and the
World Athletics Championships in Qatar.
"We have only four cross country meetings in the calendar.
"There will be no international one-day meeting in Nairobi
and we want to focus on the World Cross Country and World
Athletics Championships," he said.
At the same time, AK will organize a conference for top
athletes in order to educate them on the latest anti-doping
"We shall form a committee that will come up with the
logistics of the conference where AK will take care of all the
expenses for the participants," said Mutwii.
Kenya will also shift its national trials for the World Cross
Country Championships and World Relay Championships from Nairobi
to Eldoret in April, in order to encourage foreign athletes
training in the country to compete with and help push Kenyans to
secure qualification times.
A number of American, European and Chinese athletes have
pitched camp in Eldoret to exploit the high altitude training
ahead of the World Championships next year.
Kenya’s cross country season will start this month, in line
with its elite runners heading to Europe to compete in European
This year, there will be five races with another four in
The IAAF cross country permit series starts on November 11 in
Burgos, Spain, and has two more races in 2018.
The rest of the seven competitions will be held in 2019
across Portugal, Spain, Italy, Denmark and Germany.
The European highlight will be the continental cross country
championships in the Dutch city of Tilburg on December 9, with
the World Championships taking place in Aarhus, Denmark on March
Elite squad Kenyan runners plot 'New York Marathon' conquest