A “medically-savvy operation” is helping Kenyan athletes cover up doping offences, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) said on Tuesday, adding they had found similar forged documents and references to fictitious doctors in two recent cases.
“The AIU has been asked to work with the Kenyan Government, Athletics Kenya and the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya to attack this crisis” AIU Chair David Howman said in a statement.
In January, Kenya’s Betty Wilson Lempus was handed a five-year ban for using a prohibited substance and tampering with doping controls by using forged documents.
Last month, another Kenyan athlete, Eglay Nafuna Nalyanya, was banned for eight years for breaching anti-doping rules.
“Nalyanya and Lempus told the AIU they received intramuscular injections while being treated at the same Kenyan hospital and produced falsified medical documents to support their respective claims,” the AIU said.
The AIU and ADAK found “striking similarities” in the explanation and evidence the two presented.
“In both instances, AIU investigations – in collaboration with the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) – discovered the documents were false; that the doctors listed were fictitious; and that neither athlete had received the respective injection though both women had attended the hospital on the respective days in question,” it said.
A Disciplinary Tribunal said the pattern of behaviour was “remarkably similar” in both cases and held the view that Nalyanya had neither the sophistication nor medical knowledge to draft the letter from the doctor.
“It seems that elite Kenyan athletes are being assisted by a person or persons, including someone with considerable medical knowledge, to commit what amounts to criminal conduct involving frauds on the AIU,” it added.
The AIU’s Howman said his organisation was working with the Kenyan authorities to tackle the issue.
“It is clear doping in Kenya is increasingly well organised and these cases underline the reality that medically-experienced personnel are involved. This is a serious threat to our sport,” Howman said.
Athletics Kenya said last week that its government has pledged $5 million per year for the next five years to fight doping in athletics.
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