Why Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya is happy with muguka ban

Dr Martin Yauma, who is in charge of education and research at ADAK.

Why Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya is happy with muguka ban

Joel Omotto 08:23 - 02.06.2024

Anti-doping Agency of Kenya has expressed its delight at the ban of miraa in three coastal counties even as the decision continues to generate political heat in the country.

Anti-doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) is among those in support of the muguka ban that has generated political tension in the country.

This follows a decision by Mombasa, Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties to ban the use and sell of muguka over its adverse effects on youth.

While the issue has since turned political and even become a subject of discussion at State House and Parliament, ADAK feels athletes from the three counties should be happy that the ban has been imposed.

Muguka is a stimulant which contains cathine, a substance on the list of those prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and ADAK sees the ban as helping their ongoing war against doping in Kenya.

“It is a good thing for our athletes so that we protect them for their health and for fair play,” Dr Martin Yauma, who is in charge of education and research at ADAK, told Pulse Sports.

While the stimulant is prohibited only during competition, Dr Yauma has discouraged athletes from using it out of competition, even if its one of the favourite pastimes for Kenyan youth, including those engaging in various sports.

“We advocate that they should not use it because you never know the number of days it will take to get out of the body,” added Dr Yauma, who revealed that ADAK is in the process of increasing surveillance among footballers who are among those who use the stimulant.

“We are revamping education for football because we have realised there is a problem there. We want to do a lot of sensitisation for football so they are aware,” he said.

“Football is so huge so we have just been covering the elite ones at the top because funding is a big problem and testing is very expensive. We just go for the high-risk athletes and areas because at the grassroots [in football], it can be very expensive.”

Muguka has adverse effects on athletes with increased heart rate, hypertension and severe mental health problems such as anxiety and depression among those associated with its consumption.

Grown in Embu, muguka is a khat variant with similar effects to miraa which landed Kenyan boxer David Munyasia in trouble ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics in Greece.

Munyasia was the first athlete to fall foul to the rules when he tested positive for banned substance cathine, having consumed miraa in the days leading up to the Games.

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