World women marathon record holder Mary Keitany has pleaded with athletics coaches and managers to help stamp out doping among Kenyan runners.
Keitany’s call comes amid recent reports by the Athletics Integrity Unit indicating that they are handling 120 doping cases.
The AIU crackdown is aimed at protecting the sport’s reputation and transparency.
“I am telling our coaches and managers to please help fight doping. Our country risks being banned if this vice continues,” Keitany said.
The 2016 New York City Marathon champion called for close monitoring of chemists and pharmacies and action taken on drug outlets that are found selling banned substances.
She said doping allegations among Kenyan athletes is getting worse and asked the Anti-doping Agency (ADAK) to intensify awareness campaign among young runners. Keitany claimed Adak has been creating awareness among elite athletes in five star hotels, leaving out newcomers in anti-doping sensitization campaigns.
“There are some unscrupulous medical doctors who have positioned themselves in training bases and they target young athletes in the pretext that they would run faster,” she said in an interview in Iten. She added: “We are aware that after using EPO, an athlete will run for one year and after that, their careers come to a halt because of the side effects.”
Some 85 of the cases, according to the AIU report, involve Olympic and World Championships medallists, with 47.5 per cent involving Russians.
Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos accused managers and coaches of introducing banned drugs to athletes to boost performance in a bid to attract more monetary returns. Tolgos said his county administration will carry out thorough audit of drugs dispensed in pharmacies and revoke licenses of pharmacists selling EPO.
“Some managers want to use athletes as running machines for selfish commercial purposes. I will personally oversee the revoking of licenses,” Tolgos said. “Some few athletes who are engaging in doping are out to tarnish the images of over 2,000 athletes training in Iten,” he added