National Olympic trialist Ferdinand Omanyala has warned fellow athletes that ignorance is no defence for any contravention of anti-doping rules.
Using his past debacles as an example, the 100m and 200m specialist advised athletes to be intentional about understanding the anti-doping regulations in place and strictly adhere to them, rather than delegating this responsibility to their entourage.
“Use my case as an example, and the end of the day the buck stops with you, the athlete. Be very mindful of what you take, consult the right people at all times,” the 25-year old, who served a 14-month ban in 2017 after being found guilty of using prohibited substance, said.
The sprinter was among key speakers at a three-day anti-doping education seminar for Olympic trialists at the Weston Hotel in Nairobi.
The seminar was convened as a curtain raiser to the national trials — set for June 17-19 at Moi Stadium, Kasarani — to enlighten the close to 100 athletes on their obligations and requirements in as far as anti-doping regulations.
Speaking at the same event, Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei warned the athletes against resorting to shortcuts when training and competing more so as the Tokyo Olympics draws closer.
“If you want to go to the Olympics and you fail to attend the mandatory seminar, there will be problems for you. Our obligation is to keep reminding you to run and win clean at all times,” Tuwei said.
His sentiments were reinforced by Charlotte Kurgoy, head of the federation’s anti-doping unit, who said athletes only have themselves to blame for any penalties resulting from doping offences.
“We can avoid all the blame games if the athletes take the main responsibility. It is very easy to do so, we should not leave that to our coaches and managers because it affects us more,” Kurgoy said.
Also in attendance — although virtual — was Aditya Kumar, head of Education and Communication at the Athletics Integrity Unit, who urged the athletes to adopt a no-nonsense attitude towards doping.
“As you know there are different types of cheating. I want once again to ask all the athletes to make the sport we love safe. We can start by reporting the many malpractice athletics to make the sport safe. As for the active athletes please make yourself available for testing,” Kumar said.
Similar seminars will be held in Eldoret tomorrow and Kericho on Saturday to cater to athletes currently training in these areas.