AK in stringent anti-doping measures ahead of weekend championship
In a well-laid out plan aimed at weeding out the numerous doping cases that have dogged athletics and Kenyan sports at large, athletes who will this weekend compete at the Athletics Kenya National Cross County Championship will, first of all, undergo a mandatory Anti-Doping training programme before they can take to the track.
The championship will take place at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi, along Lang’ata Road.
Speaking at the AK headquarters on Monday while unveiling the association’s first competition of the year, vice president Paul Mutwii emphasized the importance of the training ahead of team selection for the Africa Cross Country Championships slated for March 17 in Chelf, Algeria.
The Saturday event, the national trials, big in the calendar of AK, will see top guns fight it out with eyes firmly trained on clinching tickets to Chelf event.
Mutwii at the same time urged all sub-branches chairmen to ensure that only athletes representing the 12 regions are in Nairobi by Thursday evening, adding that the federation will cater for accommodation ahead of Friday’s training programme at a city hotel.
“ The training is important to us because we need to be removed from World Anti-Doping Agency watch list. So we have requested ADAK (Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya) to educate the athletes on what is expected of them so that we can curb the doping menace,” he said, adding that: ” The training programme will take place on February 9 (Friday) from 9am– 1:30 pm.”
According to Mutwii, the branch chairmen have been tasked with providing a list of athletes representing their respective regions in advance to the national association for logistics purposes.
The team that will be selected during the National Championships will be expected to report to camp on February 20 at the Kigali Teachers College in Embu County, where they will camp for three weeks before departing for Algeria on March 14.
Some of the athletes expected to grace the annual event include two-time IAAF World Cross Country Champion and three-time defending National champion Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor.
“I’m not sure if I will race but I’m trying to get an individual chest number. I would love to compete there to check on my training programme as I prepare to defend my World Half title on March 24 in Spain,” said the Kenya National Police Service athlete.
Other athletes who are expected to compete at the event include 1,500m youngsters George Manangoi (IAAF World U18 Championships, Nairobi) and Anthony Kiptoo (World U20 Championships, Bydgoszcz, Poland).
Athletics Kenya will be looking forward to a repeat of 2016 event in Yaoundé, Cameroon where Kenya dominated, taking lion’s share of the medals. Team Kenya won all top podium places in each of the race categories to bag a total of 14 medals; 8 gold, three silver, and three bronze.