Athletes warned against dope ahead of Commonwealth Games
Amid the swirl of speculation and gossip that has swept across the globe over the doping cases from Kenya, sports official have put the athletes to the sword about the vice, cautioning them it will not be tolerated.
With focus on defending the sixth place finish after the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Kenya is under pressure to improve on its medal tally of 32 (12 gold, 11 silver and nine bronze medals) from track-and-field, swimming and boxing disciplines.
“The games are here, and you are elite athletes. Be careful on what you consume, what you use as medication and who you associate with,” said Stephen Soi, the Kenya team Chief de Mission. With a big squad of 295 athletes and officials, man-marking will not be easy as the team departs in batches for the Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
It will be the second time that Kenya will be returning to Scotland for the Club Games, which are only legible to countries and regions that were previously colonized by the British.
Scotland held the games in 1970 and 1986 with legendary Kipchoge Keino featuring in both events. Kenya will enter athletes in 15 disciplines and will have almost everyone in Glasgow during the opening ceremony on July 22.
The team, which comprises athletes from 15 sports disciplines, will leave for Britain through Dubai, then Glasgow and Amsterdam to Glasgow. Soi warned athletes against doping or using performance- enhancing substances, saying they should be careful even during the games.
“Be careful never take food, drinks or gifts other than what is provided for all the athletes. You might be tricked into taking banned substances,” Soi said. The team was handed the national flag on Tuesday and given the greenlight to defend the country position in the games that will last three weeks and cost the country over 4 million U.S. dollars. “The team is ready. We have had good preparations in training. The morale in camp is high and we can surpass the 2010 medal haul in New Delhi,” said Soi.
Australia, India, England, South Africa and New Zealand were the top teams in the medal count four years ago. That status quo is not likely to change given the huge entry quota that these countries enjoy. But Soi said it is a challenge for the team to reaffirm its prowess with the quality lean team they will be parading.
“Kenyans win clean. And the doping problem should not soil our good reputation. Simple things like that can destroy the name of Kenya. We are cracking the whip on doping,” said Kenya Sports Minister Hassan Wario.
Three-time world 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi and Olympics weightlifter Mercy Obiero were confirmed as the overall team captains. Kemboi, who is heading to Commonwealth Games for a fourth time, said: “I have made team four times and three times as the overall team captain.This is my last time competing in Commonwealth Games and I want to win gold medal and allow young crop of athletes to take over the steeplechase. It’s good I will compete in the presence of Ben Jipcho, who laid the foundation for us in the steeplechase,” said Kemboi. Kipchoge Keino, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya Chairman, engaged the athletes in discussion on how best to win in Glasgow, as he reflected on his past performance in the same country. ”You are young and potential athletes and have trained hard. Just go for glory,” said Keino.