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Tighten anti-doping laws

Monday July 06 2020
By EDITORIAL

On Friday, another top Kenyan athlete was suspended for violating anti-doping regulations. Former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang was handed a four-year ban for, inter alia, “tampering by providing false evidence and witness testimony”. He joins a list of more than 40 compatriots either provisionally suspended or banned in the past year for doping.Kipsang’s case has again stabbed Kenya right in the heart. We are in the news, once again, for all the wrong reasons with our athletes’ credibility and prowess thrown further into question.The athlete has won the London Marathon twice, alongside the Berlin, New York and Tokyo marathons, making him one of the most successful long-distance runners in Kenya’s history.Other high-profile bans and suspensions this year include that of three-time world 1,500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop, 2017 London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru and 2014 World Under-20 Championships 800m champion Alfred Kipketer.It would seem that the four-year ban handed by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) isn’t punitive enough on sports cheats . Our authorities, principally the Ministry of Sports, must quickly bring the much-needed amendments to the 2016 Anti-Doping Act to visit further punishment on disgraceful athletes.What is disturbing is that it’s seasoned athletes, who are expected to be role models, that have been flouting these anti-doping rules, despite being conversant with the requirements.Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed disclosed last week that a team from her ministry and the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya is working to criminalise doping by September.There is now a need to prosecute and jail drug cheats to send a clear warning to the perpetrators and protect clean athletes.

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