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February 26, 2018

AK officials pledge to stem doping as foreign athletes flock to Iten

Athletes run during a training session in Iten /COURTESY
Athletes run during a training session in Iten /COURTESY

Athletics Kenya officials have pledged to ensure there are no anti-doping violations as a high number of foreign runners throng Iten’s high altitude centres for training.

There has been a high influx of foreign athletes from Western countries since December, a move that has raised eyebrows among AK officials and security agencies.

Keiyo North AK chairman Pius Lai said yesterday that the runners have settled on Kenya and the highlands of the Rift Valley since their countries are currently experiencing winterly conditions and thus unfavourable for training.

Lai said AK officials are monitoring the athletes and their coaches to ensure doping is not practiced.

“The athletes are in Iten purely for training. It is understandable that they can’t train in their countries during the winter,” Lai said, noting that the number of foreign runners has increased this season.

He said AK and state agencies assembled a team on Wednesday last week, mandated to deliberate on issues surrounding the athletes’ stay and conduct during training.

“Other meetings will be done to ensure athletes toe the line. We will be meeting with the county government officials on Wednesday (tomorrow) as part of our consultative meetings,” he added.

Many hotels in Iten are fully booked as athletes and para-gliders flock the small athletics town.

Two French para-gliders accused of peddling bhang in Iten were arrested last month, raising suspicions on the conduct of some of the foreign sportsmen.

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