alexa Doping menace blighted good year for Kenya - Daily Nation

Doping menace blighted good year for Kenya

Wednesday December 23 2015

Kenyan sprinter Joyce Sakari during a past race. PHOTO | FILE |

Kenyan sprinter Joyce Sakari during a past race. PHOTO | FILE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

BARNABAS KORIR
By BARNABAS KORIR
More by this Author

As we approach the end of the year 2015, I’m not sure how I want to remember the just-ended athletics season.

I’m actually confused and a lot of things come to mind when I reflect back on the season.

I don’t know whether to remember that moment when Kenya left Jamaica and USA trailing them as they topped the table in the World Championships in Athletics in Beijing with 16 medals - seven gold, six silver and three bronze or that moment when Geoffrey Kamworor and Agnes Tirop made us proud by winning the world cross country titles in senior men and women’s categories.

Of course that moment when Julius Yego took gold in javelin in Beijing is still very fresh on my mind. Yego did not only become the first Kenyan to win the world title after throwing 92.72m but the throw put him third over in the world’s all-time best.

Kenya's Julius Yego celebrates after winning the final of the men's javelin throw athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the

Kenya's Julius Yego celebrates after winning the final of the men's javelin throw athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 26, 2015. PHOTO | FRANCK FIFE | AFP

But again the doping events keep on flashing in my mind as if it happened just yesterday. First in the season was Rita Jeptoo, then followed a number of unknown athletes and before I could comprehend what was happening, our very own sprinters Joyce Sakari and Francisca Koki were making the headlines for all the wrong reasons in Beijing. The two especially spoilt the party for the country after making history.

Advertisement

And before the dust could settle, our very top officials Isaiah Kiplagat (president), David Okeyo (vice chairman) and Joseph Kinyua (treasurer) were on the firing line over allegations of corruption and claims of doping cover-up.

The three have since been suspended amid investigation into their cases. But just as we thought we were on the way to recovery, two-time world cross country champion Emily Chebet was in another group of seven athletes banned for between two and four years for various doping crimes.

There is always light after darkness and I can only hope the country will soon be back and strong ahead of the Rio Olympics.

But even as this was happening, there were a few bright spots that make us proud. Ezekiel Kemboi’s fourth world 3,000m steeplechase title was something to be proud of.

Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi celebrates winning the final of the men's 3,000 metres steeplechase athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the

Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi celebrates winning the final of the men's 3,000 metres steeplechase athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 24, 2015. PHOTO | OLIVIER MORIN | AFP

Asbel Kiprop was equally up to the challenge, winning his third world title and missing the world 1,500m record held by Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj by a whisker. He also won the Diamond League title!

Vivian Cheruiyot’s return in the 10,000m also gave Ethiopians something to ponder over. Vivian not only win the world 10,000m title but also set the stage for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Kenya's Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot celebrates in front of Ethiopia's Gelete Burka after winning the final of the women's 10,000 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the

Kenya's Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot celebrates in front of Ethiopia's Gelete Burka after winning the final of the women's 10,000 metres athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 24, 2015. PHOTO | OLIVIER MORIN | AFP

Hyvin Kiyeng dominated women’s 3,000m, winning the world title and three events in the Diamond League series. Despite taking bronze at the big stage, Eunice Sum was equally dominant in the 800m. How I wish and pray that 2016 remains stainless.

Kenya's Hyvin Kiyeng celebrates after winning the final of the women's 3000 metres steeplechase athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the

Kenya's Hyvin Kiyeng celebrates after winning the final of the women's 3000 metres steeplechase athletics event at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium in Beijing on August 26, 2015. PHOTO | OLIVIER MORIN | AFP

Advertisement