Athletics Kenya (AK) has urged Kenyans to embrace the spirit of sports as a symbol of national unity during and after the general election.
AK noted that athletes have set good records earning the country a good reputation internationally, as a nation of champions.
The country’s athletes’ sports governing body has also pointed out that sports as a recognised instrument for development and peace disregards both geographical borders and social differences as it promotes social inclusion and economic development in different geographical, cultural, and political contexts.
Speaking to the Kenya News Agency, the AK First Vice Chairperson Gabriel Kiptanui reminded Kenyans that in sports, there is no hatred, tribalism, or violence.
“Kenyans should adopt positive energy as demonstrated in sports even during the electioneering period by participating in their democratic rights while maintaining peace love and unity,” Kiptanui stressed.
Further: “In sports, we understand it’s a competition that has winners and losers. We accept the outcome of all games and move on peacefully. Both losers and winners work hard for the next competition without causing any mayhem. I hope this year’s elections will be just like sports,” added Kiptanui.
He was speaking during the training sessions for Kericho-based athletes at Kericho Green Stadium where he also urged the players to participate in their democratic rights by voting for good leaders and maintaining peace to enable them to enjoy the privileges of training and participating in competitions in a stable country.
Kiptanui who is also the official athletes’ coach intimated that he is currently training 30 athletes who are expected to take part in the upcoming Kenya Cross Country series and the World Cross Country Championship.
“We have those preparing for the upcoming half-marathon including Beatrice Chebet who is currently in Birmingham and expected to participate in the 5000 metres race, after clinching a silver in Oregon last month,” Kiptanui said.
Also present during the rigorous training sessions was the Kericho County Athletes’ Representative Peter Kiptoo Cheruiyot who underscored the importance of the athletes maintaining good physical and mental health ahead of their upcoming games.
Cheruiyot also emphasized the need for the right and timely information provided to both amateurs and professional athletes regarding the fight against doping for the protection of their physical and mental well-being and the preservation of sports ethics and values.
“Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) should be vibrant in ensuring that our athletes are tested in good time for them to qualify for competitions. The role of ADAK is to protect athletes’ fundamental rights to participate in doping-free sport and thus promoting good health, fairness, and equality of all athletes,” Cheruiyot said.
He called on the athletes to avoid using supplements that may compromise their health urging them to stick to traditional foods which are healthy for their sporting activity.
“This is not a license for you to dope. The radar now focuses on Kenya and big names are falling, and if we are not careful, Kenya might face a total ban like Russia. So, I’m urging all athletes to be responsible for what they consume by avoiding supplements that may contain banned substances,” added Cheruiyot.
According ADAK, doping control is useful in detecting the use of prohibited substances by athletes who must comply with a valid request by ADAK for testing, failure to which they may face sanctions.
ADAK doping control program complies with the World Anti-doping code that harmonizes anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations within sports organizations and among public authorities around the world.
By Kibe Mburu and Diana Chelangat