KORIR: Doping blighted gains made by Kenya in athletics - Daily Nation

Doping blighted gains made by Kenya in athletics

Wednesday December 24 2014

Former Kenya athletes Viola Chelangat Kimetto (left) and Joyce Chemutai Kiplimo, who were banned for doping, during an interview in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County, on December 19, 2014. This is the time we need forums to bring together Athletics Kenya, Government and athletes to brainstorm over doping. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

Former Kenya athletes Viola Chelangat Kimetto (left) and Joyce Chemutai Kiplimo, who were banned for doping, during an interview in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County, on December 19, 2014. This is the time we need forums to bring together Athletics Kenya, Government and athletes to brainstorm over doping. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BARNABAS KORIR
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As we celebrate Christmas Thursday, I reflect on the athletics events that have take place this year with a lot of sadness.

Doping scandals have been the order of the day and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

Even the few shinning moments we’ve had have been overshadowed by these issues. 

Clearly, as much as I would want to run away from this topic and talk about the good Christmas and New Year things, doping continues to stick its head out like ‘Ebola’ and there is no any other way out but to face it.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much effort towards curbing the menace. Instead, it there has been condemnation from all quarters, including Athletics Kenya (AK), the body charged with the management of athletics in the country.

BRAINSTORMING OVER DOPING
This is the time we need forums to bring together Athletics Kenya, Government and athletes to brainstorm over doping.

We need to go back to the roots and educate our athletes on the hazards of doping. You and me know that the topic of doping may not be new to our runners but not much has been done to educate them  on the matter.

Too much focus is on the victims while the perpetrators are still on the loose out there, targeting more Kenyan runners. The problem will persist if we continue focusing on the victims and forget about the masterminds. 

Today, it might be Rita Jeptoo but tomorrow it will be another Kenyan top runner. The  faster we get to the bottom of the matter the better.

AK needs to take the lead role in this matter because whatever happens reflects badly on their management style.

AK FRICTION
Wrangles between AK and their affiliates have also been another negative factor towards the development of athletics. There has been no unity in the athletics fraternity, yet we need a forum immediately to come up with the way forward.

Despite the wrangles, we have had moments to be proud of. First we dominated the Africa Cross-country Championships in March and ruled athletics at the Commonwealth Games, winning 10 gold, 10 silver and five bronze medals.

Our athletes, including Eunice Sum (800m), Mercy Cherono (5,000m), Ndiku Mwangangi (5,000m) and Jairus Birech ( 3,000m steeplechase) also dominated the Diamond League, series sweeping all the top prizes.

EXCELLENT PERFORMANCES
Kenyan runners were also at the top of their game at the Continental Championships and Dennis Kimetto crowned it all in Berlin in September with a world marathon record (2:02:57).

Our performance at the World Relay Championships in Bahamas was equally good and so were our juniors who took part in the World Junior and Youth Championships among others.

Next year will be even more action-packed, with World Cross Country Championship in China and the World Championships the main highlights. Preparations have to start early if we are to post good results.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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