Athletes based in Nandi County have been urged to desist from the use of performance enhancing drugs (doping) and practice ‘clean’ sports.
This comes amid reports that out of 47 banned athletes found to have engaged in doping, 29 hail from Nandi which has prompted leaders and stakeholders to engage the athletes from the county.
One of the most recent cases is of the world marathon record holder, Abraham Kiptum who was suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) due to an anti-doping violation.
Kiptum who comes from Kapsisiywo village, Chesumei constituency was banned from participating in the recent London Marathon just two days before the race.
According to the AIU Kiptum’s violation relates to his biological passport –the system that monitors an athlete’s testing over time.
Addressing the athletes during a sensitisation forum at the Kapsabet show grounds on Monday, County Sports Executive, Elly Kurgat regretted that Nandi has the highest number of athletes who have been banned due to doping and termed it as an embarrassment.
“We cannot continue priding ourselves as a ‘source of champions’ with such embarrassing revelations of our athletes banned due to doping”, he remarked.
Going forward, Kurgat said, the Sports department shall have a database of all athletes, managers, coaches and all training camps in the county.
“ We are waiting for the county assembly to pass the law that will require all training camps to be registered and issued with operating licenses”, he added.
The County Commissioner (CC), Samuel Kimiti said that the government has pumped a lot of funds in the sports ministry and will not allow such a menace to thwart the efforts of enhancing sporting in the country.
“We will take stern action on the people selling drugs to our athletes and the chemists involved in selling them will be closed down indefinitely and have the operators’ licenses withdrawn”, said Kimiti.
The Kapsabet Ward MCA, Fredrick Kipkemboi lamented that successful athletes drawn from the county are not investing in their home counties but doing it in other counties.
“You need to invest at home and stop enriching other neighboring counties with the millions you receive as awards; set aside part of it for investment within,” said Kipkemboi.
The Athletics Kenya Central Rift Chair, Abraham Mutai said the federation will continue holding sensitization forums and training to ensure that the doping menace is eradicated.
“We have been having people winning from this area and we do not want anybody to start doubting our win,” said Mutai.
The AIC Bishop, Patrice Chumba urged the athletes to work hard, be disciplined and earn honest rewards for their work instead of yearning for quick riches through dubious means.
“Decide to change for good and stop engaging in performance enhancing drugs, money earned through dishonesty will not take you anywhere”, he added.
Priscah Jeptoo a marathoner, advised fellow athletes to follow the guidelines by training well and eating balanced meals in order to excel in the sport.
Jeptoo said athletics as a sport has a stiff competition and an average of 40 Kenyans out there compete in the different fields of the sport every week.
“Do practice, have discipline and integrity, guard your name, your county and country “, she urged.
Meanwhile, the athletes requested the county government to set up training grounds within the county since a majority are forced to source for grounds from other neighboring counties to train.
The County has a total of 500 athletes who are on active training.
By Bethsheba Abuya