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  • According to the WADA, Kenya ranks in category A, the highest in terms of doping.
  • Kenyan doping structures differ from those recorded in other countries, with Nandrolone and EPO being the most commonly used substances.
  • Athletes may take drugs, ranging from routine social behaviour to illegal performance enhancement.

Kenya is still in danger of doping, with the Athletics Integrity Unit suspending up to 30 athletes for up to 9 months.

According to the WADA, a Canada-based organization initiated by the international Olympics committee, Kenya ranks in category A, the highest category in terms of doping. 

Ethiopia, Morocco, and Nigeria are among the African Countries in this category A.

According to ADAK, Kenyan doping structures are far different from those recorded in other countries, with Kenya Athletes discovering Nandrolone and EPO as the most commonly used substances.

Has Athletics Kenya done Doping sensitization?

Kenyan Athletes in the recent past have yet to be sensitized fully to doping. However, banning or suspending their compatriots and other elite runners from athletics should have been a better way to learn.

Recently, Athletics Kenya launched an anti-doping sensitization forum set to be done across the country, targeting up to 600 junior athletes.

Athletics Kenya argues that doping knowledge and awareness will be necessary for young athletes since they will soon join the senior athletics ranks, with most of their seniors having been affected by doping allegations.

What needs to be done?

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK), together with Athletics Kenya (AK) officials, now want the Government to intervene as doping is now turning into a national disaster.

In an interview on NTV on Tuesday, Brett Clothier, the Athletics Integrity Unit boss, says they are doing their best to collaborate with other partners to fight it. Still, in Kenya, a lot needs to be done.


Brett Clothier, Head of Athletics Integrity Unit, during the NTV Live Sports show, Sports On, on October 24, 2022. Photo/ Elias Makori/Nation

Clothier said that Kenya has an excellent anti-doping agency that works well with the Athletics Antidoping Unit. Still, it’s time for Kenya to allocate more resources to the agency if doping-free sports are what they desire.

“Kenya has a lot of doping cases, and it’s a severe issue. 

Together with our partners, we are doing our best to see this doping end, with much effort needed.

“Your anti-doping agency works very well with us, but they need more resources to ease their operation.

The Anti-doping Agency of Kenya currently tests approximately 1,500 samples annually. With more help from the Government, ADAK will be able to do up to 3,000, a move that will see the Kenyan testing laboratories accredited by the World Anti-doping Agency. 

The Antidoping Agency of Kenya is mandated to advise the Government on all relevant matters relating to anti-doping in consultation and partnership with the Regional Anti-Doping Organization, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and any other anti-doping organizations undertaking anti-doping activities in Kenya.

Also on the panel were ADAK’s legal chief Bildad Rogoncho, and Athletics Kenya executive committee member Barnabas Korir. 

Korir pointed out that the central problem in the whole process is the cartels in different training camps supply drugs to young, innocent athletes who later suffer suspension or ban from sports.

“We know there are cartels in these camps, and they are responsible for all this, ruining the sport because they take advantage of athletes who know little about the drugs, and the good thing is that they end up being caught by the system,” said Korir.

Korir also said that many athletes caught violating the anti-doping rules significantly prove that the ADAK system is working.

Why do athletes take drugs?

Athletes may take drugs, ranging from routine social behaviour to illegal performance enhancement.

Athletes may take drugs due to peer pressure. Mainly, they observe or hear from their teammates using performance-enhancing drugs.

Athletes might also be given performance-enhancing drugs by their competitors.

Those who support athletes, such as family members, coaches and healthcare professionals, may exert additional pressure on athletes to improve performance by any means available.

Also, they can easily access any drug in an environment where drugs are readily available—for example, the rise of the internet market.

Who is the blame?

 Athletes who knowingly aides the doping practice are the ones to be blamed. 

Like any illegal act, doping has consequences, and you can ruin your sporting career, reputation and prospects both in and out of the sport.

Elias Makokha is a professional Media Practitioner venturing into Corporate Communications, Radio Broadcast and Digital content creation with a keen interest in videography, photography and online Writing. He works well individually and collaboratively with his juniors, peers and seniors. He adheres to the hallmarks of journalism and accurately reports by conducting fact checks from reputable sources before publishing.

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