Reports of three-time world champion and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Asbel Kiprop failing doping test has sparked debate about an irritating menace that is ‘running dirty’.
It is a menace that can only be spoken in low tones in training camps.
Kiprop, on Wednesday denied the allegations of testing positive for blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO), saying there was an error in his sample taken out of competition in late 2017.
But even amid the denial, the allegations have re-opened debate over doping.
A Moi University Sports lecturer and Iten-based athletics trainer, Byron Kipchumba, said the doping incidents are raising in magnitude, adding that a section of managers are to blame.
Kipchumba said most Kenyan elite runners are likely to fall victim since they are managed by foreign managers and companies that are not closely monitored by Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya.
He said latest reports are an indication of how athletes find themselves in the doping trap at the hands of their managers.
“Local athletics managers don’t manage elite athletes. They often act as agents for foreign managers and management companies, who have the financial might to run the business,” Kipchumba said.
He said most athletes fall victims of performance enhancing drugs without their knowledge as managers take a firm control of most of their activities. The former Sing’ore Girls athletics trainer and teacher said a number of athletes find themselves consuming banned substances in medical facilities.
He wants ADAK to intensify the fight against the vice and narrow the fight down to, ‘which manager or company is managing the athletes that has failed the test?”
“We have to ask ourselves questions. Where do our elite runners get treatment when they get injuries? Are the athletes aware of the treatment they are subjected to in some health facilities? Most of our elite athletes get treatment in foreign hospitals listed by their managers. Who is in charge? Kipchumba quipped.
He faults ADAK for licensing only five doctors across the country to treat athletes.
“Iten is a training base for hundreds of athletes but there is no ADAK-licensed doctor,” he said.
Two weeks ago, former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang said athletes lack adequate training on which drugs to use and which to avoid, often falling prey to greedy managers, who end up ruining their athletics careers.
During an doping seminar spearheaded by the Adak in Iten, Kipsang said doping will ruin the country’s athletics glory if proper education is not conducted.
He said Kenyan athletes always comply with anti-doping rules and championed for ‘clean running’.
Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong was banned in November for four years after testing positive for EPO.
Other big names who have tested positive for banned substances include three-time Boston Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo and Philadelphia Half Marathon Winner Mathew Kisorio. They tested positive in 2014 and 2012 respectively.