It is time Kenya exorcised graft and doping ghosts to clean athletics

Doping and corruption dominated the 2015 athletics season amid suspensions and sanctions.

Thursday January 7 2016

Former IAAF president Lamine Diack during press conference in Jordan. He and other officials resigned from IAAF following scandals that rocked the body in 2015. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former IAAF president Lamine Diack during press conference in Jordan. He and other officials resigned from IAAF following scandals that rocked the body in 2015. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

As we usher in a brand new 2016, athletics enthusiasts will want to forget the just concluded year in a hurry.

While there were a few bright spots to be proud of in athletics in 2015, issues of doping and corruption dominated the season amid suspensions and sanctions.

This was not just about Kenya, but the whole world in general. Russia was the most hit with Kenya surviving by the skin of the teeth.

International Association of Athletics Federations also had its own share of scandals; which in the process claimed the scalps of former president Lamine Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack, among other officials.

So bad has been the situation that even Kenya’s feat at the World Athletics Championship in Beijing, China last year where the country clinched the top spot, has not received the recognition it deserves.

RECLAIM POSITION

I hope that in the new season that is already in motion, a lot of things will change and Kenya will reclaim its position as a powerhouse with clean athletes.

As an athletics loving Kenyan, I would like to see the country dominate both the cross country season and the Olympic Games scheduled for August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I would also like to see zero tolerance of doping and corruption cases.

However, this is not a one-man show. Let’s not take a back seat and blame certain parties as this will not help Kenya.

We all have to pull together and do what is right if we are to correct the wrongs of last year. Those in leadership, in conjunction with the government, should take a lead role in ensuring we reclaim our place on the world athletics stage.

The athletes too must play their role, they should not just point fingers at Athletics Kenya. They must take personal responsibility for their training and what they eat.

I feel seminars on doping, especially for the upcoming runners, will go a long way in eliminating the menace. Kenya may have survived this time but there will be no second chance. Let’s do the right thing.

Finally, let me take this opportunity to wish the athletics fraternity and all Kenyans a happy New Year 2016.

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