Mombasa, KENYA: The chief executive officer of the Anti-doping agency of Kenya Japhter Rugut says there is a need for engagement and sensitization of athletes and the public in general regarding the use of muscle stimulants.
Speaking during a forum with Bandari football club here in Mombasa, Mr. Rugut says their mandate covers all sports and also people who engage in physical fitness and therefore they intend to conduct such engagements all over the country to ensure the anti-doping sensitization has reached everybody.
“Initially, the perception was that anti-doping was only about athletics because the pressure at that time may have been directed towards Kenya in terms of the number of positive cases which were found after testing among the Kenyan athletes competing in international competitions.” Said Rugut.
Doping being a public health issue, the use of the prohibited substances have side effects like sterility, heart problems, high blood pressure hence the agency does not only indulge sportsmen but the general public as well.
The engagement aims to reach sportsmen who have not had the chance to participate in international events or had access to anti-doping training before.
The Anti-doping association of Kenya partners with other institutions including the pharmacy and poisons board, criminal investigations department, immigration among others.
Kenya prides in being among the few countries in Africa to have such an agency, the others being South Africa, Egypt and Ethiopia which is in the process of legislating.
In a bid to reach a wider audience, the agency participates in primary and secondary schools sports events and engagements with colleges and varsities.
It also intends to work with the ministry of education and ministry of sports to introduce value-based education so as the children grow they know what is right and wrong in competition.
Mr. Rugut pointed out miraa as one of the substances many sportsmen use without their knowledge only for it to come and haunt them when tested.
However, the therapeutic use exemption committee can advise athletes to avoid situations where athletes use substances that may lead to testing positive.
“Ours is to ensure the message is out there, ours is to ensure we don’t field competitors to go out into international forums before we test them because then they will go out there and embarrass the Kenyan flag out there.” Concluded Rugut.