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‘We’ll bring it down!’ AIU CEO Clothier vows to end doping menace



‘We’ll bring it down!’ AIU CEO Clothier vows to end doping menace

Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) has said that lack of structures to protect whistleblowers and Kenya’s unique and uncontrolled huge road running base form the base for the increasing doping cases.

AIU chief executive officer Brett Clothier said that there is a huge code of silence by virtually all Kenya’s athletes who have been banned for doping out of fear of criminals involved in the doping setup.

“We see fear and they fall short of telling us what really happened and who is involved,” said Clothier, revealing that there are criminals involved owing to huge amounts of money in prizes.  

“These criminals take advantage of the situation and athletes can’t dare talk about it because of the dangers it poses….it can be a dangerous scenario hence the silence.”

However, Clothier said that his Steering Committee doping report that was presented to Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba on Friday has come out with structures and programs that will protect whistleblowers.

Clothier was speaking upon presenting the report to Sports Principal Secretary Jonathan Mueke on behalf of Namwamba at the ministry’s office, Maktaba House, Nairobi. 

Mueke, who was accompanied by the new Sports Chief Administrative Secretary Wesley Korir, said the report will be released to the public immediately Namwamba returns to the office next week. 

Clothier was accompanied by the Steering Committee members; Jack Tuwei, who is the Athletics Kenya (AK) president, AK executive committee member Barnaba Korir and Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) chief executive officer Sarah Shibutse.

“We have talked with the athletes, coaches and stakeholders especially in areas that produce the bulk of Kenya athletes and their contribution is immense,” said Clothier, who this week traversed Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet counties to meet athletics fraternity.

“We shall bring it down no matter how long and what it takes,” vowed Clothier.

The AIU boss noted that having a testing pool of top elite athletes in road running where it’s the most lucrative part of athletics, leaving out the bulk of them in road running created a big disaster.

“Here, we only concentrated on the peak of the pyramid where top athletes were tested frequently, leaving out the rest of the elite athletes yet that is where there are more lucrative races,” said Clothier. “That created a disaster since we tested few while the rest were uncontrollable, untouched and many.”

Clothier said that is why the Kenyan government intervention was needed especially with the financial muscle so as to fix the rising cases.

He said the pledge by the government to put in US$ 5 million (Sh650 million) annually for the next five years will definitely help in the war against doping.   

Clothier once again warned that doping cases are bound to increase in the next months with more testing being done.

“Our investigations on who are behind and the criminals involved will also be scaled up,” said Clothier.

Tuwei said that they lacked the capacity to test and investigate but that is now possible with the government’s intervention.

“The multi-agency approach will help a lot and the education program will be different from what we have had before,” said Tuwei.

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