The government has launched the KEMRI Eldoret Sports Science Research Centre in an effort to combat the escalating doping crisis within the athletics community.
The facility, which is the 15th KEMRI research centre in the country aims to revolutionize sports health research on a broader scale.
Speaking during the launch on Thursday, Health CS Susan Nakhumicha highlighted the importance of the new research centre in addressing the doping challenges that have cast a shadow over the nation’s sporting achievements.
“There are several challenges the country is facing to stem the tide of doping among its athletes, one of which is the absence of an accredited laboratory capable of supporting comprehensive testing,” Nakhumicha noted
“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,” she added.
The CS noted that the Center’s mandate extended beyond doping concerns and will include research studies on Sports Medicine and research related to the well-being of athletes, injuries, mental health, nutrition, and anti-doping challenges.
“This centre will also focus on Nutrition Research, Social and Mental Health Research, Clinical Health aspects as well as the provision of laboratory services. KEMRI Eldoret will also serve as the Rift Valley regional station for research activities,” she said.
Kenya’s standing in the global athletics community has been affected by doping controversies, leading to a category A classification under World Athletics’ Anti-Doping rules which necessitates frequent testing for Kenyan athletes.
According to a 2022 report by the Athletic Integrity Unit, around 55 Kenyan athletes are currently serving bans with eight more under provisional suspension.