“Life has been brought back to a dying soul,” this is the first sentiment from the 2016 world U20 1500m champion, Kumari Taki who was unceremoniously shown the door from the 2022 Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham after suspicion of doping malpractices, which have be flagged down in total entirety by Sports Dispute Tribunal.
The 24 year-old who has never a missed a single doping test since his debut in 2015, had started his 2022 season with a bang in the men’s 1500m race at the Fanny Blankers-Koen Games was evicted from the Team Kenya camp in Birmingham for the presence of Prohibited Substance, a violation of Article 2.1 of the ADAK ADR S2. Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances and Mimetics/erythropoietin (EPO) a Non-Specified Substance and which attracts a period of ineligibility of four years.
Taki’ problem started on 22nd June when the Anti-doping Agency of Kenya (Adak) officials paid him a visit at his training camp in Nyahururu and collected his samples. He then left his training base for the Athletics Kenya National Trials for the 2022 Commonwealth Games that were held on 24th and 25th of June 2022 where he finished in third place which automatically qualified him for the game with his samples collected on the last day of qualifiers for testing.
Immediately after the team had been picked he got wind that he was being replaced with somebody who finished in seventh place and he took his complain to the team leader for the Birmingham Games Mr. Barnaba Korir who assured him that he would not be replaced.
Taki received communication from Adak on 29thh July while in Birmingham that he has returned positive results and could not participate in the games. He informed the SDT that when he logged into his WADA Administration and Management System (ADAMS) he noticed that the indicated offending sample of 22nd June was taken at Iten where as his sample was collected from him at his Triple C apartment in Nyahururu.
While submitting his evidence to the panel, Taki said that the offending sample collected on 22nd June, 2022 did not return any positive results for masking agents. The athlete was tested again on
25th June, 2022 which was 2 days after the adverse samples were collected and the results returned negative.
Taki averse that it’s inexplicable therefore that in the absence of masking agents which were found to be absent on 22nd June, 2022 the EPO had cleared the respondent’s system in time for the test of 25th June, 2022. As per the Applicant’s own testimony the EPOs would ordinarily clear from the system after 104 hours which is at least 5 days.
Taki quoted Article 3.2.3 of the World Anti-Doping Code, 2021 for the Tribunal’s consideration, which provides as follows;
“Departures from any other International Standard or other anti-doping rule or policy set forth in the Code or in an Anti-Doping Organization’s rules shall not invalidate analytical results or other evidence of an anti-doping rule violation, and shall not constitute a defense to an anti-doping rule violation; provided, however, if the Athlete or other Person establishes that a departure from one of the specific International Standard provisions listed below could reasonably have caused an anti-doping rule violation based on an Adverse Analytical Finding or whereabouts failure, then the Anti-Doping 22 Organization shall have the burden to establish that such departure did not cause the Adverse Analytical Finding or whereabouts failure:
- a departure from the International Standard for Testing and Investigations related to Sample collection or Sample handling which could reasonably have caused an anti-doping rule violation based on an Adverse Analytical Finding, in which case the Anti-Doping Organization shall have the burden to establish that such departure did not cause the Adverse Analytical Finding;
With the overwhelming evidence that Taki provided, the panel ruled that the athlete did not meet any of the provisions essential for warranting such harsh sanctions and the charge was dismissed in its entirety with the Adak bearing the costs of this cause.
Taki who is now on holiday in the United States is trying to recollect himself after suffering a global embarrassment and shame as he is a professional athlete competing at both local and international level since the year 2015.
“The news brought shame to my repute that I had built for many years, shame to my family and the country at large. It almost drove me to death, I would never wish something like this to even my worst enemy,” said a teary Taki.