Waithaka, Zakayo ‘through pass’?

Monday, September 16th, 2019 00:00 |
Edward Zakayo leads Stanley Waithaka during the 2017 World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

World Under-20 5,000m champion Edward Zakayo and silver medallist at the same event Stanley Waithaka could be the beneficiaries of a lack of knowledge that may have knocked youngsters Michael Kibet and Daniel Simiyu out of the World Athletics Championship.

Ignorance has no defence, so goes the old age cliche, but it might prove costly for Kibet and Simiyu after the two were excluded from the squad set to do battle in Doha, Qatar from September 27-October despite finishing first and second at the national trials last week. 

The two are victims of failing to adhere to the International Association of Athletics Federation’s (IAAF’s) Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) anti-doping requirements that demanded that all athletes hoping for selection must have undergone three out-of-competition and one in-competition doping tests before the trials.

The three out-of-competition tests for both urine and blood must include at least one Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) and one Erythropoietin (Epo) test and the results recorded in the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS). However, Kibet, Simiyu and their coaches appear not to have been aware of the conditions.

“I am only hearing of IAU regulations today (Friday). I had done all the other tests by ADAK.

I am sad nobody told me about the international requirements. I think they assumed everyone is well aware of the guidelines,” said Kibet.

“I am worried this is going to be used against us. I just hope the issue will be resolved so that I can be included in the team and live my dream of representing my country,” said the 20-year-old, who humbled fashioned athletes like Zakayo for victory at the Nyayo National Stadium on Thursday.

Simiyu, who finished second behind Kibet, is also worried and feels the federation might be capitalising on this to try and draft other athletes into the team. “It was not until after the naming of the team that I got to learn of this.

It is very suspect especially coming at a time there was talk of trying to make the 5,000m team more competitive. I believe we should be given a chance to represent the country,” said Simiyu.

When quizzed why they did not notify all athletes about the requirements, AK senior vice president Paul Mutwii said. 

“All such tests were to be conducted not less than three weeks apart and the results recorded in ADAMS. We expected each and every athlete to strictly adhere to the rules,” said Mutwii.

“There is no way we were going to realistically reach out to each and every athlete who has hit the qualifying mark for the world championships,” added Mutwii.

Only Nicholas Kimeli, who was third during the trials, was named in the team with the other two slots yet to be filled and there is a feeling Waithaka, who missed the trials because of illness and, Zakayo, who competed also despite being sick and finished ninth, are the men to fill the void. 

 Kenya last won the 5,000m gold at the World Championships in 2005 through Benjamin Limo.

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