Kenyan runners are being dogged by a national doping crisis | ET REALITY

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Several factors make Kenya’s doping crisis different from others, according to Clothier of the integrity unit. These include where running is an escape from poverty in Kenya, one of the poorest countries in the world; the unparalleled depth of the country’s professional running class; and the historic lack of out-of-competition drug testing for elite athletes competing below the level of the Olympics, world championships, and major marathons in Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin, London, and Tokyo.

Thousands of Kenyans make a living running, where prize money and entry fees for a road race such as a 10K, half marathon or high-level marathon can range from a few thousand dollars to tens. of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. This kind of money can “change lives, change communities” in Kenya, Clothier said, providing the chance to buy a farm or a hotel, or open a school in a country where the annual gross domestic product per capita is about $2,100. Dollars. , according to the World Bank.

“This is our profession,” said Kipyegon, the women’s Olympic champion. “We have nowhere else to go, no offices to go to” to earn a decent living.

The pressure to move up Kenya’s success pyramid, coupled with insufficient doping control of non-Olympic-caliber professional athletes, has created a “wild west” environment for doping, Clothier said, in which athletes and its enablers are “taking much greater risks.” than in other places.”

Kenya’s increased financial commitment to anti-doping is encouraging, Clothier said, although more athletes are now sure to be caught as the country’s drug testers cast a wider net. It will be a “very, very long road” to solve the problem, she said. But Kenyan running has no choice but to follow him wherever he takes him.

“It’s like now or never,” he said.

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