How anti-doping lobbyists in Kabarnet uncovered web of doping in Kenya's athletics

©Athletics Kenya.

ATHLETICS How anti-doping lobbyists in Kabarnet uncovered web of doping in Kenya's athletics

Festus Chuma 11:32 - 28.01.2024

Pharmacy raid uncovers doping scandal as Kenya intensifies fight against doping.

On a chilly morning in Kapsabet town, a determined alliance of Anti-doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK), the police, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB), Pharmacy and Poisons Board and detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations launched a coordinated raid on a seemingly innocent pharmacy.

Little did they know that this operation would unveil a web of deceit and corruption at the heart of Kenyan sports.

The Kapsabet Riverview Pharmacy and Medic Centre, once a symbol of health and well-being, was the target of this unprecedented crackdown.

What began as a routine inspection quickly transformed into a dramatic confrontation as they discovered the pharmacy operating without the required documentation.

The consequences were severe, leading to the closure of the facility and the arrest of three individuals, two of whom were operating without a license.

"The pharmacy in question was found to be operating an unlicensed medical outpatient clinic and dental clinic. Three individuals operating the unlicensed drug store were arrested, two of them were operating without a license," ADAK stated on the raid that was conducted on Thursday.

The culprits are now facing legal consequences as they will be presented before a court of law to answer relevant charges.

However, the drama did not end there as on Friday, the AIU dropped another bombshell, this time involving James Gikunga Karanja, a 32-year-old long-distance runner.

Karanja received a four-year ban for the presence/use of prohibited substances, specifically 19-norandrosterone, 19-noretiocholanolone, and Nandrolone.

Karanja's downfall began on September 10, 2023, when he provided a urine sample during the Scenic Half Marathon in Krabi, Thailand.

Little did he know that this seemingly routine procedure would lead to his undoing.

His sample was later sent to a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in Bangkok on October 5, 2023, where an Adverse Analytical Finding was reported.

The presence of 19-norandrosterone and 19-noretiocholanolone, both metabolites of 19-nortestosterone (Nandrolone) and 19-norandrostenedione, sealed his fate.

The ban on Karanja is just one example of the relentless pursuit of clean and fair sports in the face of doping scandals that have plagued Kenya.

Most notably, a disturbing trend has emerged, with many Kenyan athletes suspended or banned in the past two years for violating AIU's anti-doping rules.

What is concerning is that a significant number of these cases are linked to road and marathon running, where the allure of substantial prize money has unfortunately fueled the corrupt practice.

Two particular drugs have gained notoriety as the drugs of choice among athletes in Kenya and beyond.

The first is Norandrosterone, a substance that enhances performance by boosting muscle growth and endurance.

The second, triamcinolone acetonide, is infamous for its use in weight loss and muscle building. These substances have long been associated with doping in various sports, including cycling.

The collaboration between the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Creative Economy, and Sports, along with ADAK, signifies a resolute commitment to eradicating the doping menace, especially as the nation prepares for its participation in the upcoming Paris 2024 Summer Olympics. 

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