Doping rules may lock couple out of Tokyo-bound team

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021 00:00 |
Power couple: Sharon Lodeki and Edward Cheserek. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Kenyan couple Edward Cheserek and Sharon Lodeki’s dream of representing the country at the summer Olympics might be hampered by anti-doping regulations.

The couple based in the US is among the growing list of newcomers  who are yet to  meet the anti-doping guidelines that require an athlete  to take three tests before the Tokyo Games.

The pair had impressive performances during the just concluded Olympic pre-trials, winning the men’s and women’s titles in 10,000m.

Cheserek won the first heat in the men’s 10,000m after clocking 28:10.41 to beat  Edwin Koros (28:13.38) and Hillary Mosop (28:42.23) to second and third respectively.

Lodeki won the women’s 10,000m final in 31:43.34 ahead of Sandrafelis Chebet who finished second in 31:47.29 as Nancy Jelagat rounded out the podium in 31:49.92.

Having already attained Olympic qualification standards, the duo who reside in the state of Arizona and have been in Kenya since March, said they are now gearing for Kenya’s Olympics trials set for June 17-19.

The Kapkenda Girls alumnus added, “Most of my teammates in the US have already qualified for trials and I am hopeful I can compete here at home and qualify for Tokyo Games.”

Cheserek, who has a personal best of 27:23.58 in 10,000m,  knows an opportunity to represent his native country at the Olympics is still his dream despite relocating to the US a decade ago.

Lodeki acknowledged she has not done  three mandatory World Athletics out-of-competition tests 10 months  prior to a major championships where the tests must comprise one blood test.

“I have just been informed of the same briefly. I am waiting for the response from Athletics Kenya,” said Lodeki.

The two will be hoping they do not to follow in the footsteps of Michael Kibet and Daniel Simiu who missed the 2019 World Athletics  Championships  after finishing  first and second  in the 5,000m National trials but fell short  of the anti-doping rules.

“I just came in wanting to race and with a mile to go I felt good and thus I kept going. I have already attained Olympic qualification time and I am hoping to land an invitation for the main trials,” said Lodeki.

“I have attained qualification standards in both 5,000m and 10,000m and it will be an honour to represent Kenya at the Olympics.

I am now stepping my preparations in Kaptagat ahead of trials that will be held next month,” said Cheserek who boasts of a personal best of 13:04.44 in 5,000m.

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