Mon, Jul 11, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Kenyan sport faces more doping pain

DOCUMENTARY TARGETS ATHLETICS:Hidden-camera footage showed images of the endurance-boosting drug EPO and used syringes in a bin at a training facility


Athletics powerhouse Kenya are once again in the eye of a doping storm just a month out from the Olympic Games after the latest investigation by German television channel ARD and the Sunday Times.

Saturday’s documentary alleges doping is rife at the elite training center in Iten, Kenya.

Previous joint research by ARD and the British newspaper led to the banning of the Russian athletics’ team from the Games for state sponsored doping.

Over the past three years about 40 Kenyan athletes have failed doping tests, shredding their reputation for probity and laying bare the reality behind their reputation as the most dominant middle to long-distance running nation in the world

The allegations come as a major blow following weeks after Kenyan lawmakers passed into law — after being threatened with a similar sanction as Russia by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) — legislation making it a criminal act to either dope or to supply such products.

The documentary, largely filmed with a hidden camera, says it successfully infiltrated one of their team posing as an athlete into the training center, which is a favored spot for distance runners, both Kenyan and European, as it is at high altitude 2,400m above sea level.

The documentary shows images of boxes of the endurance-boosting drug EPO on the inside of the training center and used syringes dumped in a bin.

EPO is shown to be widely available in the pharmacies around the center, while two doctors are only too willing to propose supplying the journalist posing as an athlete with doping products.

One of the two doctors claims to have supplied “more than 50” athletes, including three British runners, based on his guarantee that he could dramatically improve their performances in “three months.”

“Even if the athletes are subjected to doping tests, they will find nothing,” the doctor says. “That is what the top-level athletes take.”

The same doctor when approached again retracted his claims and said he had nothing to do with doping and to have made up supplying the products, according to ARD.

However, both he and the other doctor featured have since been arrested by Kenyan police, according to ARD.

A man said to be the coach of an Olympic champion, appearing with his face hidden, confirms the claims made in the documentary.

“The great majority of the athletes who appear out of nowhere are doped,” he says.

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) chief executive Nicole Sapstead said the report was “of grave concern and of significant interest,” adding that the body is investigating.

“I can confirm that this evidence is being treated with the utmost importance and urgency, and two UKAD staff are in Kenya pursuing a number of lines of inquiry,” she said in a statement.

Japhter Rugut, head of the Kenyan anti-doping agency, said the revelations were “very shocking.”

“We can see that we have a lot of problems at grassroots level and we will work with the police so as to weed out all those implicated in these criminal activities, both sports people and doctors, who will have to answer for their actions,” he told ARD. “We want to go to Rio with a clean team.”

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