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Kenya's athletics body refutes doping claims

05-24-2012 10:33 BJT

NAIROBI, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Athletics Kenya (AK) on Wednesday came out in strong defence of the country's distance runners who were accused on German television of employing blood doping to enhance their performances.

In a development that has caused a stir in Kenyan athletics circles sports journalist Hajo Seppelt claimed in his Saturday show on German national television, ARD, that doping was widespread among Kenyan athletes have uncovered the damning information in the country when he posed as an undercover agent.

"We in AK are not aware of any athlete who has used drugs that has been found to have used drugs and those who have, they have been punished in accordance with IAAF rules and this has been made public. We have never hidden anything," AK chairman Isaiah Kiplagat told journalists in Nairobi.

Kiplagat noted that the timing of the revelations was peculiar as the country prepares her runners for the London Olympics adding that the story was purposely aimed at demoralizing the athletes.

"This depicts Kenya as a country where athletes use enhancing drugs to win their races. It is my hope that this story will not affect and cause panic among our athletes since there is nothing that is true in it," he said.

The chairman, however, said the federation had launched an inquiry into the claims as they called on Seppelt and anyone else with information pertaining to the charges to present it to the relevant authorities for action.

"We are requesting this journalist to come forward and present the information because by doing so, it will help AK, IAAF and all those concerned with athletics including the IOC.

"The report said that some clinics here in Nairobi are supplying the drugs and other things and we are doing our own investigations and we shall provide the details when they are complete," he said.

The chairman stressed that the federation would not present any athlete to the National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) for entry to the London Olympics if they have not been subjected to rigorous drug testing.

"I believe 99 percent of our runners are clean and we have been having officials come to our training camps to test our athletes every now and then and I can only call this report as defamation of the character of our runners," Kiplagat said.

The AK chairman also announced stringent controls to be put in place for foreign media personnel wishing to interview or film Kenyan runners.

"We have written to the Ministry of Information asking them to allow us to clear any journalist from outside wishing to speak to our runners," he said.

"We have also asked the Ministry of Immigration to also give AK the duty to clear foreigners who come to work with our athletes since some have been in the country on tourist visas for over 10 years."

He disclosed that thus far, the Kenyan government had deported one and two other foreign workers with local athletes who had fled by their own accord.

Nock chairman Kipchoge Keino echoed Kiplagat's condemnation of the story saying his body was in constant touch with anti-doping agencies seeking to test Kenyan runners out of competition.

Citing that Asbel Kiprop was awarded the men 1,500m gold medal after Bahrain runner Rashid Ramzy tested positive for banned substances at the last Olympics in Beijing, Kipchoge assured that Kenya would not send anyone to London on substance abuse.

"There are more than 5,000 out of competition tests carried out by the IOC and many of these are here in Kenya and so far we have not heard anyone being accused and I'm sure our youth win cleanly.

"I'm asking these agencies to visit the country during our nationals and trials and see for themselves that we are not ready to take anyone on drugs. We learned our lesson during the 2004 Olympics when two of our boxers were sent home for chewing Miraa (stimulant Chata Edulis)," he said.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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