America’s Chelimo defends Kenya over doping scandal

Source Xinhua

Olympic 5,000m silver medalist Paul Chelimo of the United States has come to the defense of Kenya saying the country is doing everything to curb doping among its athletes.

Chelimo, who will be representing his adopted country of the USA at the Tokyo Olympics, occasionally trains in Eldoret to boost his endurance and speed. Chelimo said more is done in his motherland to stop cheating in sport.

“There is crackdown in Kenya and I can assure you when I’m there I get tested even more than in the United States. For example, last year before the Americas trials, I was in Kenya for 40 days training and I was tested five times by anti-doping officials,” Chelimo said on Wednesday.

Kenya has been categorized as one of countries with high likelihood of its athletes cheating, together with Venezuela, Ethiopia and Ukraine.

Athletes from these four countries are required to undergo mandatory out-of-competition anti-doping tests before being allowed to contest at the Olympic Games or the World Championships.

A World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report in September 2018 said 138 Kenyan athletes tested positive from 2004 to August 2018.

In the latest list of cheats on Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent World Athletics body to fight doping, over 50 Kenyans has been sanctioned in the last two years.

“Doping is a personal choice and it doesn’t mean if you train in a certain region you can dope or be influenced to dope. If anyone wants to dope, they can dope anywhere. It is not only in Kenya and Ethiopia,” Chelimo said.

Critics have said there are undeniable trend with the East African countries of positive cases for banned substances and it is becoming increasingly complex.

“I don’t know many American athletes go to Kenya or Ethiopia to train unless they were born there. Having said that, it is not just to train, most of us go back to visit where our parents, grandparents and family reside,” said Chelimo.