Tuwei warns athletes against doping as virus chaos bites

Monday March 30 2020
By GEOFFREY ANENE

With no sporting activities going on due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei has warned athletes against the temptation of using banned substances.

In an interview with Nation Sport on Saturday, Tuwei said: “The spread of the coronavirus has caused a lot of problems for everyone. Times like these could be tempting for athletes to attempt mischief thinking that they can’t be caught. Let them know that the anti-doping programs are going on. There’s no good time to use banned substances, so they should avoid the temptation of doping.”

Kenya is on the Category A list of countries where their athletes are at a high risk of engaging in doping. It has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) watch list since 2016, with over 40 athletes serving suspensions or bans for using banned substances since 2012.

Several big names have found themselves in trouble this year for violating the anti-doping rules, including former former Valencia Marathon champion Sammy Kitwara.

Apart from warning athletes not to dope, Tuwei advised them not to lose hope. “Athletes were training and others in competition. They earn a living from athletics. They should not despair now that nothing is going on. This virus caught us all unawares. They should stay safe and keep fit because no one knows when this thing will end.”

Tuwei also urged athletes to follow government orders in order to avoid being caught on the wrong side of the law, as was the case where an athlete returned into the country recently from France.

Instead of going into self-quarantine, Samson Rutto boarded a matatu from Nairobi heading to Eldoret before he was arrested for not observing the order in Nakuru.

“Athletes should follow what the government says. If the government has issued a directive that one should go into quarantine for 14 days after arriving from abroad, they should obey this. We would like to see them follow these rules."

"After the government announced ban on travel and ordered people coming into the country to self-quarantine, Athletics Kenya also reinforced this message. We told those who were in the country not to go abroad. We also reminded those who were out of the country to do that is expected of them when they return,” said Tuwei.