Is bodybuilding another hiding den for drug cheats in Kenya?

Wednesday May 13 2020
By AYUMBA AYODI

Bodybuilding is fast becoming another hot spot for anti-doping rule violation in Kenya.

Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (Adak) has in the last two years banned six musclemen for periods ranging from two to four years for violation of rules.

Most of the banned musclemen are from the 2018 season, and there are fears that more will be banned as more cases are still with Adak and the Sports Disputes Tribunal.

The 2018 Mr Kenya Bodybuilding champion Gabriel “Iron Shaffi” Mukundi is the latest victim, having been handed a two-year ban for failing a test during the 2018 Mr Kenya Championships.

Mukundi, who had challenged his suspension by Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (Adak) at the SDT, got a two-year ban instead of the usual four years.

According to the ruling delivered on December 4 last year, a panel chaired by Njeri Onyango and which also comprised of Mary Kimani and Peter Ochieng, shortened Mukundi’s suspension for unknowingly taking prohibited substance Stanozolol, just before the 2018 Mr Kenya Championships.

The period of ineligibility started from December 27, 2018 when the athlete was provisionally suspended and that all competition results registered by Mukundi starting November 3, 2018, were annulled including prizes, medals and points.

ALMOST COMPLETE

Mukundi’s ban runs till December 27 this year.

During the hearing, Mukundi was represented by Dennis Mungai while Bildad Rogoncho appeared for Adak.

Adak indicated that Mukundi had prohibited substance Stanozolol in his system which is in violation of Article 2.1 of Adak Anti-Doping Violation Rule (ADVR), Article 2.1 of World Anti-Doping Code and rule 32.2 (a) and rule 32.2(b) of the IAAF (now World Athletics) rules.

The usage of the substance constituted a four-year ban.

Mukundi denied the anti-doping violation rules (ADVRs) charges stating that for the three years he had been in competitive bodybuilding, he has never used any performance-enhancing substances.

However, Mukundi disclosed that he was involved in a motorcycle accident on July 1, 2018 in which he suffered a knee injury and was treated and given medication that had some banned substances.

The athlete acknowledged not informing the doctors who treated him that he was a sportsman and that he also didn’t take time to find out the nature of medication administered to him.

He later found out that one of the drugs, Neurabol, contained banned Stanozolol but said he could not have taken the medication if he had known its components.

While the panel noted that Mukundi took the medicine unknowingly, it was his duty to ensure that no prohibited substance entered his body.

Heavyweight Mukundi, who rose from humble background of Nairobi’s Majengo slums, out-flexed middleweight’s George Henry and Fred Sudhe from welterweight to win the title at the Nairobi Hospital Convention Centre Auditorium on November 3, 2018.

Lightweight’s Zablon Osiemo finished fourth followed by Arnold Ragos (light heavyweight) and Ramadan Ali (lightweight).

It was a dream come true for Mukundi, who ventured into bodybuilding in June 2016 just after winning Mr Kamukunji Talent Search Bodybuilding Championship. He later set his his sights on Mr Kenya title.

TITLE GONE

He was stripped of the title, and Kenya Bodybuilding Federation (KBBF) president, Chris Omedo, indicated that George Henry Odhiambo will be crowned the new 2018 Mr. Kenya.

Mukundi becomes the second Mr Kenya winner to be banned from the 2018 season after the 2015 Mr Kenya Michael Obuya was suspended for two years after failing a doping test in May, 2018.

Female bodybuilder Sheetal Jayendra Kotak - who won the women’s title during the 2015 Mr Kenya Championships - has also been reprimanded.

Kotak used banned Norandrosterone, Noretiocholanolone and Metenolone and her ban was effected from January 17, 2018 to January 17, 2020.

Also to be banned after tests taken at the 2018 Mr Kenya championship is Arnold Ragos Sanya, who finished fifth.

Others are Moses Musilwa and Marvin Mukoswa. All are serving two-year bans, save for Musilwa, who was handed four years.

Omedo said the federation has had difficulty fighting doping menace, especially from companies selling supplements to bodybuilders.

“Most have illegal substances that Wada and Adak have banned,” said Omedo.

“Most musclemen have skipped local championships for fear of being busted.”

Omedo said for several years, the sport has been associated with drugs that enhance rapid body growth.

“Despite the challenges, we have made tremendous progress to deal with this menace ensuring that athletes win fair and clean through our cooperation with Adak,” explained Omedo.

Omedo said that together with Adak, they have endeavoured to sensitise the athletes on the dangers of using banned substances.

“Some of our athletes have defied all these and have gone ahead to administer the drugs on themselves, only to get banned,” Omedo, who vowed to stamp out doping in the sport, said.