Nairobi, Oct 4 (IANS) Former world marathon record holder Paul Tergat has pledged to have clean athletes to represent Kenya in international competitions.
Tergat, who was elected the country’s President for the National Olympic body (NOCK), said on Wednesday that his main priorities are the welfare of athletes and a commitment to anti-doping.
“It is a new beginning and we promise to change the way sports is run in this country. General welfare of athletes will be top priority. We will work with all partners to ensure they are given proper preparation before major games,” he said.
This comes after a damning report exposed how athletes representing Kenya at the Rio Olympics were exploited and denied even basic training gear as officials opted to sell the merchandise donated by Nike.
But of more concern to Tergat will be helping Kenya regain the global recognition as a true power house with limited cases of doping.
“We will work with relevant bodies to keep our athletes clean and also protect those who are clean,” he said.
“Doping is a choice made knowingly and if we have to fight it, we need to enlighten our athletes and seal off the holes through which the perpetrators are gaining access to dope.”
Kenya’s Olympic body had come under scathing attack over mismanagement of its affairs.
The five-time World Cross Country champion was elected unopposed after his competitor Patrick Muya’s was disqualified by the NOCK’s general assembly.
Tergat replaces another athletics legend Kipchoge Keino who took over the reins of the Olympic Committee in 1996. Keino, on his way out, said his reign had brought a successful era for Kenyan sports.
“I leave Nock with my head held high. It is time for new people to take over and I want to ask them to protect sports in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) has asked coaches and sports federations to embrace anti-doping activities with a view to promoting clean sports and ensuring the well being of athletes.
The ADAK Anti-Doping Education and Research director also revealed that the agency has so far conducted similar regional workshops for coaches and sports organisations officials in Eldoret and Nakuru.