Moses Kiptanui: Doping 'rife in Kenya'


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The Independent Online

Moses Kiptanui, one of the most successful athletes in the proud history of Kenyan running, claims doping is rife among athletes in the east African country.

The three-times 3,000m steeplechase world champion, now coaching, alleges many athletes use performance-enhancing drugs as a shortcut to wealth. "The information shows that there are a good number of athletes out there who are using drugs," said Kiptanui, who is regarded as the greatest steeplechaser ever after his success in the 1990s, when in addition to winning the world title in 1991, 1993 and 1995, he became in 1996 the first man to break the eight-minute barrier for the 3,000m event.

In a BBC interview, Kiptanui, 42, said: "They want to get money by all means, either by a genuine way or another way. We have put rules in place. If we don't use these rules then athletes will still use these drugs."

Kiptanui also alleges widespread corruption around the world. "If you can bribe somebody today or tomorrow, then [a test result] is gone," he said. "All over the world there is corruption in sport. It is not only a matter in Kenya."

However, David Okeyo, secretary-general of Athletics Kenya, said Kiptanui should provide evidence to back up his claims and called on him to name names.

Last September, Kenya's athletics authorities revealed they were investigating allegations of widespread doping after media reports that doctors had given banned substances to runners at a high-altitude training facility. More than 40 leading Kenyan athletes were subjected to out-of-competition blood tests after a team of overseas drug-testers paid an unannounced visit to the Rift Valley base.

After failing a drugs test at Kenya's national championships last June, distance runner Mathew Kisorio claimed doping was commonplace. Athletics Kenya head Isaiah Kiplagat said at the time that most athletes were "clean", but that he took the claims seriously. "We are working with other authorities to ensure that... if this true, [we can] take action appropriately on the culprits," Kiplagat said.