The Athletics Integrity Unit is on a crusade against doping. The main country targeted is Kenya. The body, via its director Brett Clothier, no longer wants to allow this scourge to continue, tarnishing the image of a country that, by any standards, shines in athletics through its prowess and records.
Doping in Kenya now seems to be a never-ending series. One episode follows another. The Kenyan athletics scene has been plagued by doping for several months, if not years. To date, 63 of the country's athletes have been suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU). This was the latest figure in May. Others are under provisional suspension. So this is a major concern. The director of the AIU, Brett Clothier, is waiting for people to take responsibility. "The aim is really for anti-doping to become a major issue for the country and for the problem to be really addressed with a strategy. It's a huge five-year project, where we're going to work together with the Kenyan authorities," he told L'Equipe.
How can doping be curbed in Kenya? The AIU is going to get involved. Firstly, it is creating a dedicated monitoring pool for 300 athletes, including 120 Kenyans. By way of comparison, until now there have only been 40 road specialists in the monitoring pool in the world. Then, in partnership with the Kenyan National Anti-Doping Agency (ADAK), there will be screening tests at competitions in the country. "The tests will start in the summer. It's not going to be pretty over the next few months. Before it gets better, it's going to get worse. Testing has started at national competitions and we've already had reports of positive cases", insists Thomas Capdevielle, the AIU's head of testing.
An on-site manager to oversee everything
The AIU no longer wants to let doping spread in Kenya. It is therefore going to send a manager on site. This person will be in Kenya for two years to steer the project. However, this will not be his only role, as he will also be training the coaches.
"The aim is also to assist the Kenyan national agency. They will be working with the same technologies and techniques that we normally use. There was a structural problem, so we helped them to structure themselves", stresses the IAU Director. He adds, like a promise: "There will be more cases but less doping. That's part of the plan, because we need to turn things around. There's a long way to go. It can only get better.