Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has partnered with Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (Adak) and Athletics Kenya (AK) to popularise their newly launched Road Running Integrity Program for 2020.
At the same time, AIU, the World Athletics’ wing that deals with integrity, has supported Kenya’s quest to have doping criminalised.
AIU’s head of programs Thomas Capdevielle yesterday said that after extensive analysis of road running, they discovered that 76 per cent of 50 road race winners in World Athletics Gold Label races were not part of any out-of-competition anti-doping programme in 2018.
“In the same year, we noted that 74 per cent of the podium finishers in those Gold Label road races were not included in out-of-competition testing pools in the sport or their countries,” said Capdevielle.
“In 22 per cent of those races, not a single athlete who finished on the podium in either the male or female races was tested out-of-competition.”
Capdevielle said this situation poses a major risk to the integrity of the road running events. Capdevielle was speaking during an international press conference at Hilton Hotel ahead of Athletes Conference, which starts tomorrow at Sirikwa Hotel in Eldoret.
Capdevielle was accompanied by AIU head education and communication Aditya Kumar, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed, AK President Jackson Tuwei, Confederation of Africa Athletics Athletes Commission president David Rudisha and ADAK CEO Japhter Rugut
“Given the uniqueness of the road running industry where the pool of talented runners compete at the highest level and earn a good living from it runs deeper than any other discipline in athletics,” said Capdevielle, adding that protecting the integrity of the road running industry required more funding to cover a wider group of athletes.
Under the previous system, the AIU and World Athletics funded the first 50 road runners in the testing pool. AIU intends to use between US$ 2.6 million ( Sh260m) and US$ 3.2m (Sh320million) in their Road Running Integrity Programme in the year 2020.
There are 262 athletes registered by World Athletics Road Running and Capdevielle said between 40 and 60 athletes will be added to the testing pool in 2020. Previous testing pool included just 70 runners and by February next year, World Athletics will have about 300 to 320 runners.
He explained that after tomorrow’s session with close to 130 road running athletes that will include athletes from Uganda, they will move to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for similar sessions.
Capdevielle said criminalising doping will take the battle against doping in athletics a notch higher. “ World Athletics don’t want to interfere with Kenyan affairs but we want more done in investigations to punish those involved in doping including coaches, doctors and pharmacists who are involved,” said Capdevielle.
Amina disclosed that a team has been formed to amend the Anti-Doping Laws that will have doping criminalised. “The conversation is in and we want to ensure that the whole entourage takes responsibility,” said Mohammed adding that the government through Adak is committed to eradicating doping in the country.
Amina, who failed to state when the laws will be ready, reiterated that athletes reprimanded for doping will never represent the country again.
Rudisha said since the inaugural conference last year, athletes have immensely benefited in areas of doping, investment, taxation, ethics and media relations. “Sports is an industry and I am happy Athletics Kenya and their partners AIU and World Athletics have worked hard for the welfare of the athletes,” said Rudisha adding that clean athletes have suffered most owing to the few athletes who have resorted to doping. “These cheats have stolen the podium finish thunder from clean athletes but I am happy that will end with such efforts.”
Rugut said since the establishment of ADAK in 2016 they have done over 3,000 tests with 136 workshops also having been held. “We have done 567 in the last five months and this is great,” said Rugut.
Tuwei said the conference in Eldoret that starts Wednesday (December 4) through to Saturday (December 7) will dwell on Anti-Doping, legal matters, investment, taxation, ethics and values and athletes’ media relation.
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