Track & Field

Kenya steps up fight against doping as police raid chemists, arresting five

Kenyan police have conducted raids on chemists in Nairobi and Kapsabet over the past two days, stores which are believed to be behind much of the doping problem in the East African nation, arresting five pharmacists and doctors on suspicion of supplying banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Drug cheat: Rita Jeptoo (right) was the most high-profile Kenyan caught for doping after testing positive for EPO. Image: PhotoRun

Drug cheat: Rita Jeptoo (right) was the most high-profile Kenyan caught for doping after testing positive for EPO. Image: PhotoRun

In Nairobi yesterday, police attempted to arrest the proprietor of one of the suspected stores, which stocks body-building and sports nutritional supplements, according to a report by Citizen TV tonight.

The suspicions about the stores were first raised back in March, when Citizen TV in Kenya released a documentary, Poisoned Spikes, which alleged top athletes were using the store as their source of performance-enhancing drugs. This was in addition to a series of reports by German TV network ARD which appeared to show several elite athletes purchasing and injecting drugs with assistance from pharmacists.

An ugly scene ensued today as one of the store owners, Robin Kung’u, stood his ground, telling police “these are my premises”, but he was later taken away for questioning.

“In this report and in an earlier expose by German TV, one particular chemist was mentioned several times,” said Dr. Hassan Wario, who is the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and the Arts in Kenya and was present for the raids. “Following the recommendations of the task force, I went to the relevant bodies about these places selling medicines that should not be accessible to athletes.”

On Wednesday, a suspected rogue doctor and lab technician were arrested on suspicion of supplying banned substances.

Earlier this year, JumpingTheGun spoke to current world 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop about the doping problem in Kenya. “Yes, there is a problem with doping,” said Kiprop, “and it’s getting worse.”

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Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy is a freelance journalist, a once-serious, now-retired athlete who writes for a number of international publications in the running industry. He has won two sports-writing awards, the Peter Ball Memorial Award in Ireland and the Wills Writing Award in the UK. Nationally, he previously worked for the Sunday Tribune, Irish Runner magazine and has written for the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, the Guardian and The Independent in Britain. He is a regular contributor to Running Times, Runner's World, RunBlogRun and the IAAF website.
His banter levels are often poor, occasionally exceptional.

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