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We are focused on the World Championships, athletes say

Wednesday August 5 2015

Wilson Kipsang crosses the finish line during the men's 2015 London Marathon in central London on April 26, 2015. PHOTO | SEAN DEMPSEY

Wilson Kipsang crosses the finish line during the men's 2015 London Marathon in central London on April 26, 2015. PHOTO | SEAN DEMPSEY | AFP

COPPERFIELD LAGAT
By COPPERFIELD LAGAT
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The doping report linking the country with widespread doping will not derail Kenyan athletes’ preparations for the forthcoming 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

British newspaper The Sunday Times published data from 5,000 athletes, which it claimed revealed an “extraordinary extent of cheating” with Kenyan and Russian athletes adversely mentioned. The report claims that some chemists in the North Rift athletics hubs of Iten and Eldoret administer EPO and other banned performance boosters. But top athletes led by former World Marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang have said the report will not affect Kenya’s preparations for the World Championships due from August 22 to 30 in Beijing where Kenya will be represented by 47 athletes.

“Those are just allegations which should not scare our athletes. We will continue with our preparation for the World Championships,” Kipsang said at the University of Eldoret grounds early this week.

Kipsang, the 2012 Olympic Games marathon bronze medallist, is part of the Kenyan team to Beijing.

Fast rising marathoner Eliud Kipchoge, who is the reigning Chicago Marathon champion, said the report will not dampen the team’s spirit for the Worlds, pointing out that the report is a mere allegation and doesn’t implicate any single runner.

“The allegations would only affect the Kenyan preparation for Beijing if athletes in the team were mentioned,” Kipchoge, the former 5,000m World Champion said.
The reigning New York Marathon champion also said he report shouldn’t form a basis to doubt the past performance of Kenyan athletes.

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“We want to tell the world that Kenyan athletes are tested regularly, so trust our performances because we have run a lot of races where collected samples return negative results.”

Kipsang, who is the Professional Athletes Association of Kenya president, stressed the need for Athletics Kenya needs to take the anti-doping campaigns to the grassroots to create awareness on doping.

Meanwhile, three-time World 3000m Steeplechase champion Moses Kiptanui (1991, 1993, and 1995) still maintains that doping is rife in Kenyan athletics.

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