Young 'fools' behind Kenya doping woes: Rudisha

Tue Mar 1, 2016 11:29pm EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Kenya's doping problems were caused by "foolish" young athletes desperate to win races and cash in on the sport, David Rudisha said on Wednesday, but the Olympic 800 meters champion hopes his country is on the right track to restoring its reputation.

The 27-year-old, who lit up the 2012 London Games with a brilliant world record performance in the 800m final, has been distressed by the allegations of doping and corruption that have rocked the East African country's athletics program.

Kenya has been hugely successful in middle and long-distance running for decades and remains a global leader on the track and in big-city marathons, but some 40 of its athletes have been banned for doping in the last three years.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has given the country an April deadline to implement new anti-doping measures or risk non-compliance, which could pave the way for a ban on its track and field athletes competing at the Rio Olympics.

"It’s really sad, it’s really unfortunate that this is happening because Kenya previously has a really good reputation," reigning world champion Rudisha told Reuters in an interview in Melbourne on Wednesday.

"And for many years Kenya has been doing well on the athletics stage, winning championships without this problem. A few years ago this problem has been coming.

"But it’s really tough. Because these young athletes who are desperate to make money, to win races, they end up being fools and getting into these drugs."

Allegations of corruption also hit the national governing body, mirroring the wider scandal that plunged the International Association of Athletics Federations into crisis last year and triggered Russia's suspension from international athletics.   Continued...

David Lekuta Rudisha of Kenya reacts after winning the men's 800m  event during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China in this August 25, 2015 file photo.   REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson