Kenyan Politician Seeks To Criminalize Doping

Kenyan marathon-star-turned-politician Wesley Korir has remarked drastic action should be taken against doping cheats. Korir announced plans to criminalize doping and said heavy actions are the only way to put a stop to a worsening sporting crisis in his east African nation.

Korir, a Boston marathon champion in 2012, remarked his own investigations had reveled evidence of a big supply of drugs being provided by a cartel of people among the east African nation’s distance runners. Korir’s announcement comes in the wake of the shock revelation last month that Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo, the world’s current top female marathon runner, tested positive for the blood-boosting drug Erythropoietin (EPO) during an out-of-competition anti-doping control. Korir, now an elected MP, said unless we put in place a law to criminalize doping, we will have lost and added the legislation may include lifetime bans and fines for athletes and jail for doctors who administer performance enhancing drugs.

Wesley Korir also remarked this is the right time to introduce this bill which he hopes will be passed by the national assembly. He also said the negative publicity the scandal has caused on Kenya is huge and we are not prepared to tarnish the integrity of Kenya. Korir also commented that the supply of banned substances in Kenya was widespread and added there will be a tendency of some of athletes being tempted to dope with them being pushed to run faster times. He also accused sport bosses of Kenya, including Athletics Kenya, of having done absolutely nothing despite a string of positive tests among athletes from Kenya in recent years. Korir remarked they continue to live in denial and they do not want to accept the reality that the issue is so serious. He also said the system is so corrupt and added the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) should open a testing laboratory in Kenya to safeguard the process.

The 2012 Boston marathon champion said currently there is no law that forces any athlete to give up information on who is providing them with drugs. He added they need to be made to give the names of the suppliers and we need to have a law that if you give an athlete drugs, you should be put in jail. He also remarked criminalization will create a lot of fear among the athletes and they will think twice about cheating in the first place and it will also force doping offenders to cooperate with doping investigations.

Korir also said he will be introducing a bill in Parliament to criminalize doping in Kenya to athletes, agents, or doctors that assist athletes dope. Korir added he will soon be meeting with officials from the Professional Athletics Association of Kenya (PAAK), a new athletes’ group in Kenya chaired by Wilson Kipsang, reigning London Marathon champion.

Wesley Korir won the 2012 Boston Marathon with a time of 2 hours 12 minutes 40 seconds. The long distance runner who specializes in road running competitions had previously won the Los Angeles Marathon in 2009 and 2010.

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