Kenya Athletes to prove wins not powered by drugs in London, as alleged
Having secured the games in terms of putting in place meticulous security measures, the London Olympic organizers have moved to secure the integrity of the performing athletes through an anti doping campaign dubbed Win Clean.
The campaign was launched Monday, with the opening of the games’ largest ever anti-doping laboratories which will be complemented with heavy media publicity of the “Say No to Doping campaign.”
The laboratory, which will be open 24 hours a day, will test every medalist and up to 50 per cent of all competing athletes in the biggest drive against drugs in any Olympic event. Since Kenya is expecting to reap many medals in the games, its athletes will be tested before being crowned in order to forestall speculation like the one that was fronted by a German journalist in May this year.
A renowned investigative reporter Hajo Seppelt from ARD, a German national TV station in Cologne reported in a sports piece that doping was prevalent among Kenya’s distance runners and that his findings pointed to “strong indications that at least some Kenyan athletes break the rules.”
In Seppelt’s expose, a Danish scientist Bengt Saltin allegedly suggested that improvement of the country’s runners in Europe between 2008 and 2010 could not have resulted from ‘better training alone.’
In a quick rejoinder immediately after the airing of the investigative piece, AK issued a statement refuting the allegations as baseless.
“We in AK are not aware of any athlete who has used drugs or that has been found to have used drugs; and those who have, they have been punished in accordance with IAAF rules and this has been made public. We have never hidden anything,” AK chairman Isaiah Kiplagat told journalists in Nairobi at the time.
Kiplagat further urged that when the doping tests begin before the London games, he would be urging the doctors to start with Kenya’s athletes.
“The report said that some clinics here in Nairobi are supplying the drugs and other things and we are doing our own investigations and we shall provide the details when they are complete,” he added.
In the meantime, Kenya has continued to win major medals in the run- up to the Olympics which will Kick off on Friday next week (27th July).
So far, Kenya has recorded 8 medals in the ongoing World Junior Athletics Championships in Barcelona, Spain to continue her dominance in long distance and middle distance race competitions.
The London anti-doping laboratory is provided by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and King’s College London.
During the launch, Marlon Devonish, Olympic gold medalist and one of the athletes featured in the campaign, said: “Winning an Olympic medal is the best feeling in the world and as an athlete it’s so important to know that anyone who stands on the podium has gotten there through their own hard work and dedication, not by doping.”
According to Brand Kenya, which will accompany the athletes to London to market the country’s image, to date Kenya has a total of 75 Olympic medals and has produced more record holders in the races than any other country in the world. Brand Kenya holds that Kenya’s prowess is not achieved through any other means other than strategic training facilities.
“Kenya’s high quality training ground has also played a big part in developing world class athletes and as a result many runners from other countries have sought to come and discover the secret to Kenya’s athletic prowess. There are several high altitude training camps in Kenya that attract many international athletes, yearning to share in a little of that which builds Kenya’s runners,” reads a statement from Brand Kenya website.