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Kenya takes anti-doping fight online


Kenyan athlete Wilson Kipsang crosses the finish line at the Tokyo Marathon in 2017. Kipsang was handed a four year ban on competing for doping violations, which resulted in previous wins being expunged from his record. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

Kenya has launched an online anti-doping education program, which is the first of its kind in Africa, to boost the war against the vice in sport.

Amina Mohamed, cabinet secretary for sports, said they have been prompted to change strategy to salvage the country’s reputation, as more Kenyans continue to be nabbed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).

The program will see elite athletes as well as their local managers and coaches access online education materials on doping before being subjected to tests.

“I applaud ADAK Anti-Doping Education team for coming up with this innovation, which will advance the government’s agenda of enhancing the fight against doping in sports,” Mohamed told reporters in Nairobi on Saturday.

ADAK chief executive Japhter Rugut said their work schedule and plans have been interfered with by the COVID-19 pandemic since they were relying on outreach programs in order to reach out and educate sports people.

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That has since stopped due to the virus threat.

However, with the online program, the country is expected to take full control of the process to sensitize the athletes and keep them in the loop as they work around the clock to reverse the high numbers of cheats in the country and help Kenya be removed from Category A, of States with athletes at high risk to use performance enhancement drugs.

“We have faced stiff challenges to access and reach out to athletes during this pandemic time. Our education programs done through workshops and outreaches have scaled down and it was necessary to think of the best possible way out,” Rugut told reporters.

However, Mohamed urged all sports disciplines to embrace the new changes.

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“I urge all sports federations in Kenya to embrace this innovation as we gradually resume sporting activities under conditions that will now become a new normal. I call upon sports federations to ensure that their members are sensitized on this program and all other aspects of doping,” said Mohamed.

“The government will support ADAK to guarantee the success of this program, which could not have come at a better time,” she added.

Rugut said with technology, they will continue with their resolve to eradicate doping in the country.

“Our athletes are still vulnerable to using banned substances that is why we have embarked on this journey to safeguard athletes and our integrity in sports,” said Rugut.

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