Top Kenyan athletes have welcomed the move by Athletics Kenya to form a network of accredited doctors to help rein in those violating anti-doping rules.
AK took the battle against doping a notch higher by forming the Kenya Doctors Network (KDN) that will clear top Kenyan athletes seeking medical attention anywhere in the world.
While announcing KDN’s formation on Tuesday, AK President Jack Tuwei said they have already identified a tentative pool of 109 elite athletes who will benefit from the medical network.
Tuwei had warned that any athlete who will fail to comply with the regulations from KDN will not be allowed to represent Kenya in competitions.
The athletes representative in AK, Milcah Chemos, who is also the 2013 world 3,000m steeplechase champion along with Olympic 5,000 metres champion Vivian Cheruiyot, Olympic 400 metres hurdles silver medallist Boniface Mucheru and World Half Marathon Championships silver medallist Bedan Karoki said the move was “timely.”
“My colleagues will now have no excuse and won’t blame some doctors if they are caught cheating,” said Chemos.
“Though long overdue this is the best way to go since athletes won’t be handled by quacks again.”
Chemos said athletes will now take their running careers and health more seriously.
“These doctors will actually help in enlightening our athletes,” said Chemos adding that move will send a clear message that Kenya is determined to fight doing and win clean.”
Cheruiyot, who also won silver in 10,000 metres at last year’s Rio Olympics, said Kenya has the best sports doctors who have been underutilised.
“It will actually help trace where the athletes are and will encourage athletes to get the right treatment besides helping eradicate doping,” said Cheruiyot.
“These doctors can’t be manipulated easily.”
Mucheru noted that it will make it easy to trace the doctors who handled the athletes in case cases of doping will arise. “Those thinking of cheating will fear,” said Mucheru.
“Cases of athletes claiming certain doctors injected them unknowingly with bad substances will end.”
Tuwei said that KDN will tentatively have five doctors before it’s increased adding that they have convened an urgent meeting for athletes, coaches and managers on January 17 at Pearl Hotel, Eldoret, to explain the new development.
The doctors who will be spread across the country in Eldoret, Iten, Nyahururu and Nairobi are Victor Bargoria, David Muhindi, Fredrick Kipkorir, Mwithia Ngundo, Wycliffe Koskei and Castro Mugalla.
The new regulations come to effect on January 17 and be fully operational from January 23, this year.
“We intend to increase both on the pool of athletes and doctors and we therefore ask our athletes and their managers to comply. We believe the regulations will flexible and beneficial and not punitive,” explained Tuwei who also called on Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (Adak) for support.
Tuwei warned that Kenya was still under IAAF watchlist on doping compliance under rule 30.6 of the international body.
“We got into this situation in 2016 and has now been extended to 2017,” Tuwei said.
“It’s in this regard that we have worked on an action plan with IAAF to deal with the utmost importance and priority levels.”
Tuwei said that a co-ordinated communication plan has been put in place through all channels including their website www.athleticskenya.or.ke to make sure that information gets to all concerned.
“A strong and sustainable involvement of Adak is important for us to achieve good results,” said Tuwei.
Tuwei called on athletes to embrace the latest changes in athletics by familiarising themselves with the new list of 2017 prohibited substances.
“Reporting Doping is one of the IAAF initiate that is a secure online portal on IAAF website to report any doping cases in six languages,” said Tuwei.