Anti-Doping Agency in panic over lack of lawyers

By Samuel Ouma

Japhter Rugut
Japhter Rugut

The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) is crying foul over lack of lawyers to handle cases involving banned substances, as the country struggle to build its reputation following doping cases against its prowess athletes.

Former 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop is the latest victim of doping. He was charged with violation of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Anti-Doping Rules that once again thrust Kenya into negative international limelight. The 2008 Olympic world champion tested positive of Erythropoietin (EPO) after an out-of-competition test in November 2017.

Speaking during the Law Society of Kenya annual conference, ADAK Chief Executive Officer Japhter Rugut decried over few numbers of lawyers who specialize in Anti-Doping issues. He divulged about partnership with the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), an association that promotes quality legal practice and rule of law, to provide professional training and capacity building to advocates to enhance knowledge in Anti-Doping cases.

“We currently have many matters in court at Sports Disputes Tribunal we have instituted. What we have discovered is that we have very few lawyers in this country who have specialized in Anti-Doping issues,” said Rugut.

In April, Rugut claimed that Kenyan athletes are ignorant about burned substances and may be using them innocently. He said chewing of Khat could be getting in the way of their careers. He requested sportsmen to seek advice on the medicine they take because some of it could contain substances. He further revealed that over-the-counter drugs that people buy could be also contaminated.

“Some of these substances are in the herbal things that we take such as medicine and even in Khat,” Rugut added.

Kenya’s fight against banned substances was boosted in June when Britain’s Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) sent a five-strong team to train ADAK staff for a year.

The following are some of the athletes who were exposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for a high prevalence of blood doping: Boston Marathon three times winner Rita Jeptoo, Philadelphia Half Marathon, Kagawa Murugame Half Marathon champion Mathew Kipkoech Kisorio, National 400m champion Elizabeth Muthoka, record breaker in sprinter in 400m during 2015 IAAF World championship in Beijing Joyce Zachary, 400m hardler Koki Manunga and the two-times cross-country world champion Emily Chebet.

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