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Health CS Nakhumicha launches KEMRI Sports Research Centre in Eldoret

The Cabinet Secretary for Health Nakhumicha S Wafula has presided over the official launch of the KEMRI Eldoret Sports Science Research Centre which will encompass a holistic approach to sports health and medical research components in a bid to tame the doping scourge.

Speaking during the event, Nakhumicha underscored the government’s commitment of addressing doping crisis in Kenyan Athletics, a sport that has raised Kenyan flag high on the international podium through blistering performance by the local runners.

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“I firmly believe that this Center is poised to play a pivotal role, engaging in a spectrum of research studies including Sports Medicine and research related to the well-being of athletes, injuries, mental health, nutrition, and anti-doping challenges” she said.

“Furthermore, it is our aspiration that this Center will evolve into a fully-fledged anti-doping laboratory, situated right here in Eldoret, resolving the doping challenges that which is threatening to stain our sports and taint the careers of athletics and other sports players in the country. This will ensure that our country retains its globally respectable stature in producing not only legendary, but also clean athletes” added the CS in a statement

The proposed Sports Science Research Centre that would also house the country’s anti-doping laboratory in Eldoret is designed to prioritise sports health research including comprehensive analysis of biological passports, factors associated with anti-doping testing, nutrition and sports injuries.

According to KEMRI, Kenya is a category A under the Anti-Doping Rules of World Athletics meaning that athletes must undergo at least three no-notice tests.

Dubbed the first-ever accredited anti-doping facility in the Eastern African region, the Ministry has reiterated its agenda of using the facility in combating doping in partnership with other relevant stakeholders such as Athletics Kenya (AK), Kenya Antidoping Agency (ADAK), the Ministry of Sports among others.

“I extend my sincere appreciation to the Athletics Kenya (AK), Kenya Antidoping Agency (ADAK), the Ministry of Sports, other agencies and all the stakeholders who have collaboratively birthed this initiative. This landmark facility shall stand as the inaugural accredited anti-doping hub not only within our nation but across the Eastern African region. The collective determination that led us here today will undoubtedly propel us forward on this critical journey. And so, aluta continua!” affirmed Nakhumicha

Athletics Kenya Executive Member and Kip Keino Classic race Director Barnaba Korir lauded the office of Health Ministry in prioritizing the needs of Kenyan athletes a head of World Athletics Championship set for Budapest in Hungary.

“It’s a big honour for Waziri Nakhumicha to spearhead this great milestone aimed at containing doping menace in the wake of alarmingly increasing cases of Kenyan athletes being suspended and banned over consumption of illegal substances.The establishment of the Kenya Anti-Doping laboratory will help the country test more doping control samples in its bid to tame the menace that has tainted Kenya’s image internationally, and frequently advise the country on the products containing banned substances.” Korir said in a phone call conversation from Hungary.

Thursday event is a follow up of President William Ruto’s sentiments earlier this year when he said the Government will go an extra mile in protecting the integrity of athletics.

While making the remarks when he met the President of World Athletics Sebastian Coe at State House, the Head of State announced that his administration had set aside Sh3.7 billion to help in the fight against doping for the next five years.

“We will collaborate with partners, sportsmen and their contacts to tackle doping that threatens our heritage,” noted President Ruto

Kenya ranks third with a total of 55 athletes currently banned by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for a range of violations behind Russia (102) and India (61).

A further eight Kenyans have been provisionally suspended and are awaiting the outcomes of their cases.

Kenya’s medal prospects at the 19th World Athletics Championships gets underway inside the National Athletics Centre in Budapest, Hungary, on Saturday.

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