Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) has advised Kenyan athletes not to relent on giving timely updates on their whereabouts, warning that Doping Control Officers (DCOs) are active despite Covid-19 lockdown.
AIU’s out-of-competition testing manager, Raphaël Roux, yesterday said the 9pm-4am curfew in Kenya is no excuse for athletes not to adhere to the body’s whereabouts procedures.
“I want to remind athletes to adhere to the one hour slot and choose the right time on when our DCOs should come for testing,” Roux said on Tuesday during Athletics Kenya’s virtual meeting attended by over 30 international athletes.
“Early morning or late evening is always the best time.”
The meeting that was attended by AIU’s head of education and communication, Aditya Kumar, legal assistant Olympia Karavasili and Athletics Kenya’s director for youth and development, Barnaba Korir.
It was moderated by AK’s head of anti-doping programme Charlotte Kurgoy under the theme “Athletes’ Whereabouts.”
Tuesday’s session comes at a time when local athletes are increasingly falling foul of “AIU’s whereabouts rules.”
Former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang and 2014 World Under-20 800m champion Alfred Kipketer are among Kenyan athletes who have been flagged for breach of ‘whereabouts rule’ this year.
Roux reminded the athletes to also indicate their training and competition schedule, adding that the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) has been improved and made more effective for athletes’ use.
“Athletes, who fail to indicate the competitions they are taking part in and go on to register results will be flagged for ‘missed test,” warned Roux.
Athletes who are sick, retired or those on maternity leave are exempted from filing their whereabouts.
Roux told athletes not to rely on calls from DCOs adding that calls only apply when the officers suspect that an athlete isn’t nearby.
Karavasili clarified that before an athlete is flagged down for a missed test, she/he is given an opportunity to explain herself, and a review done.
“It doesn’t happen that fast. Twelve 12 months is a long time and missing a test three times brings questions,” said Karavasili, adding that athletes are responsible for their whereabouts and should rely on their coaches or managers.
The AIU officials fielded questions from among others Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich, 2017 World 1,500m champion Elijah Manang’oi, Africa Games 3,000m steeplechase champion Benjamin Kigen, 2014 Commonwealth 3,000m steeplechase champion Jonathan Ndiku and national 100 record holder Mark Otieno.
Kigen pointed out the challenges he has faced being a personnel at the Kenya Defence Forces after the DCOs failed to get him when he was at the military barracks where he had indicated.