The National Olympic Committee of Kenya will push for the criminalisation of doping in sports in Kenya.
Kipchoge Keino, the committee’s chairman, said they will soon seek audience with the Parliamentary Committee on Sports and Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Hassan Wario, in view of fast-tracking the legislation on performance enhancing drug use by sports people and officials.
Kipchoge, in a New Year message, said the move is meant to ensure whoever engages in or encourages doping in sports faces stern action, including a jail sentence, so as to protect the country’s upcoming sportsmen and women.
Kipchoge noted Kenya’s credible reign in athletics, especially in long-distance running, was now being questioned in the year that has just ended.
“The reputation of our sportsmen and women has been tainted beyond any imagination,” said Kipchoge who urged the government to tighten rules on agents managing our sportsmen and women to make them accountable for any doping case involving their athletes.
An estimated 26 Kenyan athletes have tested positive for banned substances over the past two years. The most recent is Rita Jeptoo, who in 2014 became the first athlete to win four World Marathon Majors races in one season.
However, the feat by Jeptoo in retaining both the Boston and Chicago Marathon titles will all be in vain as she awaits punishment — probably a two-year ban by Athletics Kenya next week — after her “B” sample returned positive for EPO.
The government has said it will take over the registration and licensing of agents in the new year to help arrest malpractice in the sport, including drug use.
Kipchoge said that some rogue agents were luring young Kenyan athletes into their doping web for quick gains before dumping them.
“Not all agents are bad, but there are a few who are misleading our youth and must face the full force of the law,” said Kipchoge. “I want to particularly warn any coach or medical officials against abetting drug abuse.”
Kipchoge said that the government should deny grants to sports federations that fail to take responsibility for their subjects on education and sensitization on doping.
Kipchoge said NOC-K is ready to collaborate with all stakeholders in tackling the doping menace and urged the government to empower the new Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya financially and logistically.