Doping Business Ain’t So Dope
The Rio Olympics have been full of controversy from the very beginning, with everything from Zika Virus to Brazil’s political problems and then the doping scandals hitting the International Olympic Committee.
When Lance Armstrong’s case hit headlines and subsequently testimonies from his friends and confidantes corroborating the situation, the world was shocked. When the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency found that Russia had cheated in their doping tests that apparently started in 2011, ran through the 2012 London Olympics and then into the 2014 Winter Sochi Olympics, where the term “state-sponsored-doping” was coined.
Almost 24 hours to the Rio Olympics Russia they still didn’t know how many of their athletes would be banned, considering that Russia had the second largest number of athletes compared to USA in the London Olympics.
Let’s come to Kenya and our dirty doping. When the Rio Team Athletics Olympics Manager Michael Rotich was sent back to Kenya after the start of the games and arrested and questioned for instigating athletes for doping warning tests and paying him, he denied it all. Kenyan athletes have been the envy of global competitors, colleagues, officials and fans, that how are they able to run some of the longest distances and win so easily, marathon, after steeplechase, after 800m races.
The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) is keeping a check on anti-doping agency on all banned substances in athletics. Kenya has already got Francesca Manunga and Joyce Zakary suspended from the IAAF (International Athletics Federation); other athletes are Rael Kiyara, Mathew Kipkoech Kisorio, Francisca Koki, Benjamin Kipkurui, Simon Kemboi and Pauline Kahenya. Our national pride at stake when last year reports from the German Television Channel ARD and The Sunday Times of London revealed that Kenyan doctors were giving banned drugs to both Kenyan and Foreign athletes. Mostly since then the situation has spiralled on to a racetrack of allegations, checks, suspensions and then the Anti-Doping Bill 2016 so that the Kenyan athletes would be able to compete in the Rio Olympics, which stated:
(6) An athlete or athlete support personnel who commits any of the prohibited activities under section 26, commits an anti-doping rule violation and shall be handled in the manner set out under this Act.
- A person who contravenes any provision of this General Penalty.
Act for which no specific penalty is provided shall be liable to a fine of not less than one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.
The CS Minister for Sports, Culture & Arts, Dr Hassan Wario Arero was one of the witnesses as President Uhuru Kenyatta signed this Act into Law on June as the deadline for WADA had to be met. The CS has said that after the Rio Olympics all related to sports and especially Kenyan athletes will get a rigorous Education programme on banned substances and doping. But are our athletes capable of going thus far? Yes they are and the names listed above have faced their penalties. While developing countries have been accused of underpaying, understaffing, under facilitating their sports set up, we have always had the pride that our athletes are natural-born winners. This is indeed a major setback to our name for a long time to come. More and more Kenyan athletes need to come out and support the game, be clean and if they are having problems they need to speak up. They can’t sit on the sides of the racetrack and watch their future run away. There has to be complete transparency, policies, penalties and rewards too for those who are winning for Kenyan in whichever support. The scandals of not having an air ticket or accommodation should be outdated issues, these must be resolved immediately. We need to support each other in reporting and assisting in the success of our sports. For example Kenyan Rugby 7s proved that if given the right environment and conditions especially financially they can achieve so much. So why wait for corrupt officials or managers or anybody standing in the way of the steeplechase to the success of Kenya?
Rise up and show the world we can be free of doping because we believe and prove our records by just, running.