Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya to athletes: ‘Chew muguka at your own risk’

Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya to athletes: ‘Chew muguka at your own risk’

Joel Omotto 13:27 - 01.06.2024

The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya has given reasons why athletes should to stay away from muguka as debate rages following its ban in some coastal counties.

Muguka is currently one of the hot news topics in Kenya following a decision by three coastal counties to ban the use and sell of the stimulant.

Mombasa, Taita Taveta and Kilifi counties imposed a ban on muguka last month, citing its negative effects on residents in the counties but the decision generated a lot of resistance from farmers and traders of the stimulant, who insisted the governors’ erred.

While a court has since suspended the ban, the issue has turned political with leaders from the Embu and Meru communities visiting President William Ruto to voice their displeasure.

Muguka is a khat variant which has become a favourite pastime for many youth and Kenyan sports personalities are among those who partake.

However, according to the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK), athletes chewing muguka risk suspension from sports since its listed as one of the banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

“Muguka, just like Miraa contains the same substance, cathine, and this is a stimulant. The substance is banned in completion for athletes so any athlete who consumes muguka and competes in sports risks being banned,” Dr Martin Yauma, who is in charge of education and research at ADAK, told Pulse Sports.

“It is prohibited during competition. When they are tested during competition and found to have used it, then they will be banned for at least four years, but out of competition, it is not.

“Irrespective of whether it is permitted by the country or legal to consume or to do business with it, the World Anti-Doping Code is very clear for those participating in sports.”

Muguka, just like Miraa, is popular among Kenyan footballers and boxers but research has shown that it has adverse effects on athletes.

Some of the health issues linked to the consumption of muguka are increased heart rate, hypertension and severe mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

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