Dealing with cheats is never an easy task. The situation gets worse when you’re trying to expunge the cheating trait from sportsmen and women. As a global force as regards athletics, it would have been a shame had Kenya missed on the 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio, Brazil. Having missed out on two previous deadlines that had been imposed on us by WADA, the Kenyan government quickly reacted and gave the nation something to cheer about. Kenya passed a law that attempts to curtail the occurrence of doping in athletics. The frantic efforts are set to comply with the various demands made by WADA in a bid to conform to the set international standards. The amended bill was signed into law after WADA raised concerns about Kenya’s capability to end doping in athletics. The anti-doping law is consequently an important effort by the Kenyan government to re-establish self-confidence in its athletes in addition to meeting Wada set standards. Crucially, the new law sketches out various plans for an independent outfit that has broad investigative powers as regards cheating in athletics as well as having powers to set jail terms for all the suspected dopers.
We were never going to watch the Olympics had out athletes been banned from participation. It makes no sense really to cheer others when you could be cheering your own. In reality, the various occurrences of usage of drugs by Kenyan athletes as well as corruption scandals within the Athletics Kenya outfit made WADA declare Kenya as one of the prime targets. The IAAF has even banned the CEO of Athletics Kenya for being involved in a scam that would have seen the reduction of doping suspensions of two athletes. Besides, other officials within the Athletics Kenya ranks have been suspended for their alleged involvement in corruption practices that saw Doha clinch the ticket to host the 2019 World Championships. Primarily, the twofold evils of corruption and doping have turned the beauty of athletics in Kenya into an international disgrace.
Basically, Kenya had to respond swiftly to WADA by complying with the set standards or face sanctions that would jeopardize the country’s involvement in the upcoming Olympics in Rio. It is extremely shocking that the IAAF found out that most Russian athletes were part of an elaborate state-sponsored doping. As a result, the IOC has threatened to impose a blanket suspension on the Russian athletics brigade. Having suspended various nationwide anti-doping laboratories in Moscow, Lisbon, and Beijing as well as in Bloemfontein, WADA and IAAF have raised the bar high in trying to deal with cheats in athletics. For a global tournament like the Olympics, occurrence of cheats would put a negative blot on the occasion by raising the doubts about the capability of these global bodies in curtailing the usage of drugs.
Drug enhancement among athletes in Kenya has turned out to be an international debate that clearly questions past victories by our dominant runners. In actuality, Kenya has been caught up in a raft of doping allegations that have seen over forty athletes fail their respective drugs tests since 2011. Clearly, any other occurrence that relates to doping in the context of Kenyan athletics would negatively impact on the country as well as have consequences on the livelihoods of local athletes. Gladly, the new law proposes severe penalties for anyone who tries to cheat or use drug enhancements in sports. We’re hopeful that WADA will uphold our ratifications on the bill.
By Martin Wakaba – a football agent with Touchline Agencies and the owner of Football Puzzles