Ksh 5.9m First Lady race cash paid after 90 plus test -ve for dope

Athletics Kenya (AK) on Wednesday received all prize monies owed to top performers of the 2016 First Lady Half Marathon following the release of the anti-doping results.

Homeboyz Aktivate handed Ksh5.9m (USD58,181.96) to the local federation after over 90 runners who finished in the money bracket tested negative for banned substance use.

“For the first time, there were no cases of cheating because of the introduction of electronic chips for participating athletes and an online system that captured the numbers of participating runners,” AK President, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei observed when receiving the money that will be distributed to the athletes.

Tuwei acknowledged some athletes had not received their dues from other races organised last year while other events had paid out prize winnings without anti-doping tests as he pledged to ensure every competition organised will have to have drug testing as requirement.

“Prize money should not be disbursed before the release the anti-doping results. That is the only way we will combat the doping menace in this country. I would therefore like to commend Homeboyz Aktivate for their professionalism,” he emphasised.

Doping was high on the agenda in this year’s edition of the event whose patron is First Lady Margaret Kenyatta following the crisis sparked by over 40 Kenyan runners being banned for prohibited substance use since 2012.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declared local body Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya non-compliant on May 12 after the country passed legislation to combat the vice that had clauses that were non-compliant to its code.

The law has since been amended and signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta as the nation waits to be given the white flag by WADA with Homeboyz chief executive, Mike Rabar, emphasising this year’s running of the race was organised in accordance to ADAK’s guidance.

“Kenya recently met WADA’s requirements for legislative reform to pave way for Kenya’s participation in Rio Olympics. This shows the Government is pulling no stops to restore confidence in athletics; and this is definitely a marathon of global repute,” he added.

Unheralded Wilfred Kimitei and seasoned Valentine Kipketer fashioned close victories in the 21km race of the 2016 First Lady Half Marathon that panned out in the streets of Nairobi before ending inside Nyayo Stadium on Sunday morning.

The pair ran 60:38 and 69:05 to become the third set of winners in as many editions of the event to pocket Ksh750,000 each after edging out Hillary Kipchumba (60:40) and Joyceline Jepkosgei (69:09) in the final sprint for the honours in the red tartan of Nyayo.

Top 20 finishers in the main men and women 21km in the event held in Nairobi on March 6 are among those who will share in the kitty.

The race is the flagship of the Beyond Zero Campaign Initiative launched by the First Lady in 2014 to equip all 47 counties with mobile clinics to combat maternal, neo-natal and child health including HIV prevention, treatment and care.

To date, over 43 counties have benefited from the fully kitted clinics which have complimented the health service delivery offered by the County Government.