AK says doping claims tarnishing image of Kenyan athletes

Written By: Claire Wanja
116

A picture taken on February 3, 2014 shows athletes training in Iten. AFP PHOTO / TONY KARUMBA

Athletics Kenya (AK) says images of syringes posted by a Norwegian journalist purported to have been taken in Iten and which have gone viral on social media worlwide, are meant to portray Kenya in a bad light and reverse the gains in the fight against doping.

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In a statement Tuesday, AK says while it does not condone doping and work closely with various teams, it does not condone unsubstantiated reports meant to cause confusion and panic within the athlete’s circles.

It said it welcomes investigative pieces from wherever part of the world but only when they are backed with facts.

AK also challenged authenticity of the images.

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“The picture that is doing rounds on social media leaves a lot to be desired including proof of their actual location in Iten. We do not believe that doping in Kenya has reached a level where athletes do it in open fields. We are sorry to say that similar pictures of syringes left in dustbins have been circulated in the past only to turn out that they were stage-managed,” the federation said.

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AK also noted that some international media houses have been doing stories to coincide with the major events but since major championships had been postponed, they were resorting to such activities.

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“For the last few years, we have put up with this kind of reports, which have turned out to be mere claims. There are channels through which doping procedures are carried out and it is important we stick to the same to avoid any suspicions. At AK we have nothing to hide as far as doping is concerned and we are open to discussions with whoever wants to carry out investigations however, we cannot go engaging in witch hunt in a bid to achieve our own selfish agendas.” Added the statement.

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“We also encourage anybody with any information concerning doping to officially report to the concerned authorities. For this we ask the journalist to come and identify the place where this incident took place and the persons involved. All will realize that the entire world is currently fighting COVID-19 and sports has been hit hard. We would therefore love to be allowed to continue with the fight against the virus considering Kenya is affected. In the meantime, our athletes have been warned that this is not a period which gives license to engage in any unauthorized practices.” AK said.

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