•Athletes from countries in Category A must undergo three mandatory out-of-competition tests
•AK president Tuwei calls on all stakeholders to join hands in fighting the vice
•The anti-doping rules will be strictly applied when inviting athletes for trials for international championship
Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei says the federation will not relent in its bid to reduce doping cases among Kenyan athletes despite the country remaining stuck in Category A of anti-doping regulations.
Tuwei said the federation will continue waging war on doping by educating athletes, facilitating mandatory testing, and filing of whereabouts.
"It was decided by World Athletics to maintain AK in category A of the anti-doping requirements for the year 2022. Of course, we all know what this means. We need to keep working together to reduce these doping cases to zero so we can be removed from category A," Tuwei said.
A category A country is so classified on the basis that its athletes are at the highest risk of committing a doping offence.
Alongside archrivals Ethiopia, Belarus, and Ukraine, Kenya was lumped in this category in 2018 following the introduction of new regulations by WA placing more responsibilities on member federations for doping cases in their territories.
Consequently, athletes from these countries are required to undergo three mandatory out-of-competition tests and extensive anti-doping education seminars in addition to meeting the qualification requirements for various assignments.
Tuwei bemoaned the turn of events noting that the federation has done everything possible to enlighten athletes on the perils of doping, starting from the junior to the senior levels.
"We have put in all the steps to guide the athletes on anti-doping rules. Most of them have booklets with updated lists of banned substances. We have held education seminars around the country where AIU and ADAK have been in attendance to talk to the athletes. We have focused on all categories of athletes including the road runners," he said.
Tuwei added: "Some of these doping cases are just due to carelessness. There's no reason why an athlete should be cited for whereabout failure. At the end of the day, it's the athlete who loses. Let me them...in the present world, there is no where you can hide because technology is nowadays so advanced."
The latest events come less than a week after 2017 Paris Half Marathon champion Morris Gachaga was suspended for two years for whereabouts failure.
Two other Kenyans, Matthew Kisorio and Justus Kimutai, were also provisionally suspended.
And with major international competitions on the horizon, Tuwei has promised AK will not be lenient towards athletes who do not fulfill the anti-doping requirements.
"Those who have not met these conditions will not be invited to the trials for the World Championship. Each of the competitions, including the Commonwealth Games, have their own set of rules for participation but regardless it is important to present athletes who have run clean and won fair. How would it look if we present an athlete at the African championship whose reputation is soiled?" Tuwei quipped.