Doping: AK cries foul over photos of syringes allegedly taken in Iten, reads sinister motive

Athletics Kenya has come out guns blazing distancing itself from images of syringes allegedly taken in Iten and shared by a Norwegian journalist on social media.

The athletics body is reading sinister motive in the matter noting that it is meant “to portray Kenya in bad light and reverse the gains made in the fight against doping”.

In a statement, AK said:  “We have noted with concern the images of syringes purported to have been taken in Iten and which have gone viral on social media Worldwide.”

“The images posted by a Norwegian journalist, are meant to portray Kenya in a bad light and reverse the gains in the fight against doping.

While we do not condone doping and work closely with various teams, we do not condone unsubstantiated reports meant to cause confusion and panic within the athlete’s circles. We welcome investigative pieces from wherever part of the world but only when they are backed with facts.

The picture that is doing rounds on social media leaves a lot to be desired including proof of their actual location taken in Iten. We do not believe that doping in Kenya has reached a level where athletes do it in open fields. We are sorry to say that similar pictures of syringes left in dustbins have been circulated in the past only to turn out that they were stage managed.

We also know that some foreign media houses have always had doping pieces to coincide with major world events but since most of them have been postponed, we are now seeing this kind of exposes.”

According to AK, such kind of reports has in the past just turned out to be mere claims.

“There are channels through which doping procedures are carried out and it is important we stick to the same to avoid any suspicions.

At AK we have nothing to hide as far as doping is concerned and we are open to discussions with whoever wants to carry out investigations however, we cannot go engaging in witch hunt in a bid to achieve our own selfish agendas. We also encourage anybody with any information concerning doping to officially report to the concerned authorities. For this we ask the journalist to come and identify the place where this incident took place and the persons involved.

“All will realize that the entire world is currently fighting COVID-19 and sports has been hit hard. We would therefore love to be allowed to continue with the fight against the virus considering Kenya is affected. In the meantime, our athletes have been warned that this is not a period which gives license to engage in any unauthorized practices.”

Kenya has been embroiled in doping scandals with the 2017 London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru being the latest Kenyan athlete to be suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for alleged violation on his Athlete’s Biological Passport (ABP).

Similarly, former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang and former world junior 800m champion Alfred Kipketer are the other Kenyan athletes suspended since the start of the year.