Chemos: Anti-doping war should focus on female athletes

Chemos: Anti-doping war should focus on female athletes

Former world women steeplechase champion and recently appointed Athletes’ Representative Milcah Chemos maintains the war against doping in Kenya will make huge strides if young female athletes are well sensitised about its perils.

Chemos who is keen to step up to the 5000m next season after battling two seasons of injury following her silver performance at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland supported efforts aimed at equipping female athletes with information about the dangers of substance abuse.

She was speaking on Monday in Eldoret where female athletes took the initiative to educate their own on the dangers of doping as a seminar targeting them kicked off.

Women leaders in the sport led by acting Athletics Kenya (AK) Chief Executive Officer, Susan Kamau and the chairperson of the women’s sub-committee, Elizabeth Keitany, converged in the self-styled ‘City of Champions’ to arm themselves with necessary information on the vice to spread to their colleagues in the grassroots.

They were drawn from all 16 affiliates of AK in the seminar organised by the federation and facilitated by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (Adak).

“As an athlete, it is very painful to hear that one of your colleagues was found to have doped. It paints a bad picture and as an athlete, the image is tainted.

“But some are found unknowingly or knowingly so such seminar will guide as very well,” Chemos the 2013 steeplechase world champion said.

Chemos is still waiting to see whether her silver from the 2009 edition in Berlin, Germany will be upgraded to gold after Russian winner, Yuliya Zarudneva was convicted of illegal substance abuse.

The leaders agreed to target school going children to spread the anti-doping crusade with a huge number of female athletes among the over 40 Kenyans who have been sanctioned for substance abuse since 2012.

“We are here as women leaders in athletics, to seat together and train them on anti-doping issues. As AK, we thought we should invite women from all affiliates to discuss on how to follow up on female athletes as most of them perform very well for a short time and it is important to understand issues that affect them.

“We called Adak so that we can discuss together things affecting women especially on matters of doping. We are training women, equip them and empower them so that when they go back to their regions to talk to the girls so that they are able to understand what substances to use and what not to use when to use so that we develop young girls in athletics,” Kamau who called for doping to be introduced as a subject in schools in catchment areas of the sport underscored.

“As women, we will take the right message to the young people out there especially girls in their regions and this seminar has taught us a lot. You know doping is not good for our girls.

“As a teacher, I will be very grateful if the anti-doping subject is introduced in schools. I have been so close to pupils in primary school and we will be able to teach the girls and so that when they grow up, they won’t dope at all. That will add a lot of value to young generation as they grow up,” said Keitany.