Upcoming athletes have lauded Athletics Kenya (AK) for introducing an anti-doping seminar which focused on the budding athletes.
The four-day seminar came to a close on Monday with Nairobi hosting some 41 junior athletes drawn from four regions – Nairobi, Southern, Eastern and Central.
The athletes who are preparing for next year’s World Under-20 Championships to be held in Nairobi were sensitized on the effects of doping amidst the rising cases in the country.
The programme conducted by AK alongside the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) kicked off last week Wednesday in Kitale before heading to Eldoret and Kericho on Thursday and Friday respectively.
Loice Wangui, an athlete from Nyandarua said the seminar has opened up her mind as she now understands the effects of doping.
“We have been taught a lot about doping and its negative effects in the life of an athlete. I have also learnt that doping leads to ban which will shatter your dreams. For me I will not accept any advances to dope,” said the form three student.
“For me I have learnt on the different types of penalties that vary according to the anti-doping violation, like for the missed tests that can lead to sanctions on whereabouts rule,” said Simani Regau, a sprinter from Nairobi.
Barnaba Korir, AK Director for Youth and Development said the fight against doping is taking a new trajectory as the federation targets junior athletes regarded as the future stars.
“Despite the programmes that we have been giving to senior athletes, we have seen minimal changes especially doping outcomes that have continuously affected our athletes. We have therefore decided to go back to the basics and try to work on the character of an athlete as they grow by focusing on competition and education,” said Korir.
AIU head of education and communication Aditya Kumar urged the athletes to always uphold high integrity to maintain their reputation and that of the country.
“For a long time, Kenya has been known as a country of runners. While most of the athletes run clean, something happens on the way where some athletes lose faith in their talents and engage in use of prohibited substances. Remember that it is a big responsibility to preserve your reputation and that of your country,” said Kumar.
National youth coach Robert Ng’isirei said it is just the beginning as the federation seeks to invest in the upcoming athletes.
“These athletes are very young and they need continued education on the dos and don’ts so that they can grow as responsible athletes,” said Ngi’sirei.