Kenya: Shun Prohibited Substances, Young Athletes Told

(file photo).
7 December 2020

Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) has cautioned budding Kenyan athletes from using some natural herbs that can be detrimental to their health and can lead to anti-doping violation.

AIU's head of education and communication, Aditya Kumar, indicated that natural resources such as herbs are not prohibited in sport as long as athletes get them from the bush and not bought.

"But some herbs such as marijuana are prohibited and their use leads to an anti-doping rule violation," said Kumar during the seminar for under-20 athletes at Milele, Hotel, Nairobi on Monday.

The discussion rekindled memories from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games where a Kenyan boxer was disqualified from the Games after testing positive for a stimulant in wide use in Kenya.

David Munyasia, who was by then 24, was ordered out of the Games after testing positive for Cathine, a substance commonly found in miraa or khat.

Kumar urged the athletes to always uphold high integrity to maintain their reputation and that of the country.

"While most of the athletes run clean, something happens on the way where some athletes lose faith in their talents and engage in use of prohibited substances. Remember that it is a big responsibility to preserve your reputation and that of your country," said Kumar.

The session marked the end of the seminars for the youngsters organised by Athletics Kenya in partnership with AIU. The week long seminars started in Kitale before heading to Eldoret and Kericho.

The seminar delved on character development and anti-doping with AK director of youth and development, Barnaba Korir, promising more of such programmes next year.

"You are the future of this country. We now look upon you to take Kenya to the next level in terms of performance," Korir told the youth, urging them to put emphasis on their education besides listening to your teachers and instructors. "You will always go far."

Korir said the fight against doping is taking a new angle with the federation turning its focus on junior athletes,

One of the facilitators, John Tirop, told the youngsters that good character is like a solid rock and can't lay their foundation on cheating.

"You are special, hence believe in yourself and in your ability. You are the people to end doping in this country. You have potential and talent," said Tirop.

Loice Wangui, an athlete from Nyandarua, said the seminar has opened up her mind as she now understands the effects of doping.

"We have been taught a lot about doping and its negative effects in the life of an athlete. I have also learnt that doping leads to bans which will shatter your dreams,"said the Form three student.

"I now know the repercussions that await someone in case of doping or whereabouts rules violations," said Simani Regau, a sprinter from Nairobi.

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