Top Kenyan athletes slam doping claims

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Nairobi, Aug 8 (IANS) Kenyan runners have called for stricter doping control to stem the surge in cases that have thrown the distance running powerhouse under the bus following an explosive German TV documentary aired last weekend.

Former world marathon record holders, Wilson Kipsang and Tegla Loroupe were among famous runners who added their voices to the global scandal labelled by world body IAAF presidential candidate, Lord Sebastian Coe as the “declaration of war” against the sport, reports Xinhua.

“I don’t think it is good when it is released just before the World Championships and generalised Kenyan and Russian athletes are doping. We should respect the bodies given the mandate to take control of such issues,” Kipsang, Olympics marathon bronze winner and two-time London and New York champion said in Nairobi on Friday.

Kipsang said in support of giving IAAF and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) time to complete investigations to the leaked blood data that formed the basis of the ARD report.

Kipsang who held the world marathon record after running 2:03:26 at the 2013 Berlin Marathon will represent his nation at the Beijing Worlds alongside his successor as the standard bearer, Dennis Kimetto and Paris winner, Mark Korir.

“For me, the reports don’t affect me since those are allegations that need proof. I will prepare all I can to bring gold for my country together with my friends Dennis and Mark. Almost 96 percent of athletes are clean and if we generalise, we are spoiling the whole sport when somebody says Kenyan athletes,” he maintained.

Renowned global peace ambassador and former women’s world marathon record holder, the retired Tegla Loroupe, believes the solution lies with the government stepping in to enforce a more robust testing programme.

“Athletes should question whatever they are given for example supplements but for senior athletes to be caught is such a shame. If I was doping, I would not be a Laureus Ambassador for Peace,” said Loroupe, the three-time world half marathon champion.

The government has been quiet over the matter with the Commissioner for Sport, Gordon Olouch, directing Xinhua to the chairman of the newly formed Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya, James Waweru who did not answer calls.

Douglas Wakiihuri, the first Kenyan male to win the world and Commonwealth marathon titles supported Kipsang’s view of the danger of branding Kenyan runners cheats.

“If they have the proof and names of those who have been doing so, why aren’t they giving them out? The person who did the interview knows who is doping and should bring those people forward,” the 1987 world and 1991 Commonwealth Games winner maintained.

He added: “I bet if you go to Europe and say you want to become an agent, you will definitely go through a lot of scrutiny and tests before you qualify. What we need to do is have good control of our athletes and get good structures,” in calling for stricter control.



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