Wednesday, November 19, 2014 11:44 am
Kenyan marathon-star-turned-politician Wesley Korir has announced plans to criminalise doping, arguing drastic action was the only way to halt a worsening sporting crisis in his east African nation.
Korir, a former Boston marathon champion who was elected MP in 2012, said his own investigations had unearthed evidence of “a big supply of drugs being provided by a cartel of people” among the east African nation’s fabled distance runners.
The call comes in the wake of last month’s shock revelation that the world’s current top female marathon runner, Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo, tested positive for the blood blood-boosting drug EPO during an out-of-competition anti-doping control.
“Unless we put in place a law to criminalise doping, we will have lost,” Korir told AFP, saying the legislation should apply to both athletes who knowingly dope and doctors who administer performance-enhancing drugs.
“I have done investigations after Rita Jeptoo’s doping case came out and I have found that there is a cartel of doctors going round giving the athletes these performance-enhancing drugs. With the athletes being pushed to run faster times, there will be a tendency of some of them being tempted to dope.”
Korir accused Kenya’s sport bosses, including Athletics Kenya, of having done “absolutely nothing” despite a string of positive tests among Kenyan athletes in recent years.
“They continue to live in denial and they do not want to accept the reality that the issue is so serious. The system is so corrupt… the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) should open a testing laboratory in Kenya to safeguard the process,” he said.
“This is the right time to introduce this bill which I hope will be passed by the national assembly. The negative publicity the scandal has caused on Kenya is huge. We are not prepared to tarnish the integrity of Kenya.”