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Week long ultimatum for unauthorised athletics agents, trainers

28 January 2014, 14:47

Nairobi - Kenya's athletics officials have issued a one-week ultimatum to unauthorized foreign coaches and physiotherapists to leave the country.

Isaiah Kiplagat, the President of Athletics Kenya (AK), said in Eldoret on Monday that any foreign coach and physiotherapists who is not registered by the track and field governing body must leave by Feb. 3 or risk arrest.

AK will team up with the Kenya Police and the immigration department to kick out this group of impostors.

"They came in on tourist visas, some as journalists and photographers. But they are now engaging in coaching and being athletes' managers contrary to their entry permits. They disregard the law and renewed their tourists' permit without the government detecting it," Kiplagat told Xinhua.

Kiplagat accused the foreign "bogus" coaches as the culprits behind the influx of cheats from the country as they are keen to use any means to have their athletes win without caring about their own reputation.

Last year alone, Kenya registered 17 cases of athletes being caught for doping at local and international championships. This is triple the number of athletes indicted of the same in the last 10 years.

"They are not to be trusted. We have not record of their activities in the country and they need to leave immediately."

"In other countries, you cannot operate contrary to the specification of your permit. I wonder why Kenyan laws are being ignored. We are asking the government to act fast and react with speed to such violations," he said.

The order will also affect athletes who have come to the country to train without formal invite or informing the body responsible for track and field competitions in the country.

Kiplagat confirmed that at the moment, only a group of 16 Chinese athletes, who have registered to train in the country, are allowed in Eldoret, the hub of long distance running, and any others (apart from those at the IOC High Altitude Training Centre) must leave immediately to avoid arrest.

"We will be registering foreign athletes who want to train in the country. Apart from the Chinese who are already here, others have requested to train in Kenya and we are not opposed to it. We only need to be notified," he said.

"Kenya is under the spotlight by World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) over the influx of athletes taking banned substances and these coaches and physiotherapists, who want quick returns, are behind all this," Kiplagat said.

Kenya government set up a task force to look into the WADA allegation that the country was perpetrating use of banned drugs and the committee is expected to give out its report next month.

"This bogus coaches target unknown athletes, the very ones who have been caught for doping. This is because elite athletes know the punishment. But upstarts are working hard to make a name and these coaches are exploiting them to go through a short-cut. We will deal with them," he said.

Eldoret, Kapsabet and Iten towns, all in the high altitude region in west Kenya, are the targets for the "bogus" coaches.

"This issue of doping is causing us nightmares that Kenya is the only country where drugs are sold. And it is coming from Europe, Asia and everywhere and we have to act with sped to stop the trend. Some of these foreigners are responsible for bringing these drugs to our stores," said Kiplagat.

Some of the foreigners are also keen to recruit younger athletes to change their allegiance and compete for rich countries like Russia, Turkey and Bahrain, who are lustful to conquer the sports world.

"They are now teaching young boys Russian languages. The right procedures should be followed if they want to recruit these young athletes, not going through the back door snooping on us. They must follow the rules as stipulated by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)," said Kiplagat.

- Xinhua


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