Junior athletes sensitized on doping ahead National XC champs

Junior athletes sensitized on doping ahead National XC champs

Athletics Kenya (AK) in partnership with the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) emphasized the importance of running and winning clean to the junior athletes ahead of the National Cross Country Championships on Saturday.

The one-day seminar held Friday in Nairobi targeted some 200 athletes who will be participating at the national event.

Agnes Mandu, the Director of Education and Research in ADAK urged the athletes not to be carried away by the pressure to attain success over night.

“Confidence and self-esteem are not about succeeding in everything all the time, they’re about resilience to keep trying, and not being distressed if you’re not the best,” she said.

At the same time, ADAK educators Charles Omondi and Walter Omwenga took the athletes through presentations on the entire anti-doping program, doping control process and anti-doping violations.

 Omondi urged the athletes to cooperate with ADAK officials at all times whether when conducting tests or on education matters.

“We must accept that doping is here with us and work on ways of tackling it. We have to work together to fight this menace,” said Omondi.

 AK Youth Director Barbara Korir while opening the seminar said the federation is aware the fight against doping has taken a new trajectory and thus priority is on the junior athletes.

“We have an obligation to continuously remind our young athletes the importance of doing the right thing always,” said Korir.

“Working on the character of athletes as they grow by focusing on competitions and education is our main objective.” He added.

Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) Head  of Education and Communication Aditya Kumar, who joined the event via zoom urged the athletes to uphold the highest level of integrity at all times.

“I besiege you to run clean at all times. I know most athletes strive to run clean and do well. This however doesn’t mean there are those that do not engage in the use of prohibited substances. My plea to you is to never lose hope and always do the right thing,”said Kumar.

Former Steeplechase world champion Milcah Chemos reminded the juniors to adhere to the code of honesty by competing in the right age groups.

“Cheating entails a lot of things, if an athlete competes in the wrong category then that is also cheating. There is more joy when you run with your age mates. Therefore, don’t be misguided by anybody to cheat,” said Chemos who is also the Athlete’s Representative at AK.

On his part Jonathan Kipkoech who will be representing Western region in the boys 8km race during the nationals said the seminar was enlightening.

“It has been a day of learning for me and I hope it is the same for my colleagues. As a budding athlete, I have learnt that doping leads to bans which will shatter my dream. Therefore I have chosen to run clean and avoid any shortcuts,” he said.

AK executive member Elizabeth Keitany while closing the seminar asked the junior athletes to remain vigilant and not mislead by manipulative people.

” When I look at you, what I see is huge potential .You have the future in your hands. Please be watchful of cons who might want to take advantage of you, either to steal your hard earned money or persuade you to dope for easy and quick rewards,” said Keitany.

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