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Clothier Tells Kenyan Athletes 'We Need Your Help'

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29 MARCH 2023, MONACO: Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) Head Brett Clothier has urged Kenyan athletes to disclose everything they know about doping in their country.

Midway through his one-week visit to the East African nation to discuss the athletics doping crisis with the authorities, he addressed an estimated 300 athletes, coaches and other support personnel in two meetings in Kapsabet (Nandi County) and Iten (Elgeyo Marakwet County) today. While praising the Kenyan Government for its US$25-million support during the next five years to combat doping in athletics, Clothier told local athletes they too have a role to play in ensuring the integrity of their sport.

“It’s good to uncover the doping cases but we also need to educate athletes on the do’s and don’ts as one way of making sure the sport is clean.

“If you see something suspicious, you just need to talk to law enforcement or the federation (Athletics Kenya) as one way of protecting the sport. We are asking for your help,” he declared.

The AIU Head disclosed the US$5 million additional funding annually from government will help to strengthen the country’s testing and education programmes for Kenyan athletes in a bid to reduce the number of Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) which have risen significantly in recent years. It’s a problem, he noted, which requires the multi-pronged approach which the Kenyan Government is adopting.

“As a regulatory body, we are advocating for clean sports and Kenya has shown support by bringing in the ministry of sports, the poisons and pharmacy board, law enforcement, the anti-doping agency, among other stakeholders and we are glad that this will help in reducing the numbers (of doping cases) witnessed in the past. It’s a long road. It’s not going to be easy, but we have got the right platform,” said Clothier, adding that Kenya must use the opportunity of not being sanctioned by World Athletics to curb the doping prevalence.

During a courtesy call at his office, Nandi County Governor Stephen Sang said there needs to be clear roles in the fight against doping even as the national government brings in more stakeholders.

“I believe coming up with the right working framework will give the county governments a role to play because, when an athlete is flagged down, we don’t know what to do but instead try to hide because it is a shame. We all need clean sport and Kenya has to go back to where it was in terms of winning medals and practising fair competition,” said Sang.

Athletics Kenya President Lt Gen. Jackson Tuwei encouraged athletes to be honest and to run their own race, rather than resort to taking prohibited substances.

Athletics Kenya Youth Development Director Barnaba Korir contended that regulations regarding the certification of coaches and camps countrywide is one way of trying to regulate the industry.

In Iten, former 1,500-metre World champion Asbel Kiprop reasoned the mandatory one-hour Whereabouts period for athletes on the Registered Testing Pool has been a challenge for many athletes and called for it to be extended to a 90-minute period.

Another athlete, Carolyne Chepkosgei, asked Athletics Kenya to provide sports psychologists to counsel athletes who have been suffering.

“Many athletes have been through a lot of problems and maybe this is where the doping menace started,” she surmised.

“There is need to have sports psychologists who are able to guide athletes on the need to be on the right track in the sport.”