Betsy Saina, photo by Justin Lagat
Justin Lagat interviewed Betsy Saina recently on her thoughts on a clean sport. Thought you might like this….
Betsy Saina wants top athletes to get involved in the fight against doping,
by Justin Lagat
She is a Kenyan by birth, but her athletic success started in the US where she is based. She was the NCAA’s three times cross country champion in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and also won the 5,000m in 2012 and the 10,000m in 2013 national championships while at the Iowa State University. She is currently one of the most promising long distance athletes given that she has been out of college recently and only became a full-time professional athlete this year, but has so far run spectacular times in the 10k and the 5,000m distances.
She is now in Kenya briefly to prepare herself for the big races next year that will hopefully, for her, include representing Kenya in the women 10,000m at the 2015 world championships.
Having been following her on twitter and occasionally having a chat in which she had often talked about saying no to doping and working hard to achieve success, I decided to catch up with her at her current training camp in Iten to hear more from her.
“When we hear of reports that Kenya and Russia are leading in doping cases, it really ruins the sport. It doesn’t bring a good impression when a country like Kenya, whose athletes are known to be running very well; winning Olympic gold medals, marathons and other races are said to be involved in doping. There won’t be any big excitement anymore when a Kenyan wins a race because fans will be suspecting that he or she is probably a cheat,” Betsy said.
Betsy believes that each and every athlete should be involved in the fight against doping since whether one is doping or not, all will be affected in some way. She added that many athletes have worked hard till they reached the top without the use of drugs. And, although she does not count herself yet to be among the best in the world, but is optimistic of reaching there some time soon, she says that she is one of the living examples that pure hard work without cheating leads to success. This is the one thing that she wants every athlete to know.
She observed comically that some clean and successful athletes are just sitting there and watching as other upcoming athletes try to take short-cuts to fame, telling themselves: Let them cheat, be caught and suffer the consequences. Who asked them to cheat? But, not knowing that the problem will affect all the athletes and the sport in general.
“I was glad and encouraged when I heard Asbel Kiprop recently talking and urging for stern measures to be taken on the athletes found doping. Such top athletes, who have achieved so much in their running while staying clean are role models to many and should step out and make some efforts to talk to and educate the upcoming athletes to shun doping. They need to tell others that they have done it without cheating and that they too can do it by training hard,” said Betsy.
“The athletics federation in Kenya and the Kenyan government should also come together and join efforts to ensure that this issue of doping is addressed urgently. It should be stopped now, not next year. We need the Kenyan name to remain clean and our athletes to continue enjoying our tradition of being known as great athletes.”
Her message to upcoming athletes is that everything is possible for them, only if they train hard.
Larry Eder has had a 50-year involvement in the sport of athletics. Larry has experienced the sport as an athlete, coach, magazine publisher, and now, journalist and blogger. His first article, on Don Bowden, America's first sub-4 minute miler, was published in RW in 1983. Larry has published several magazines on athletics, from American Athletics to the U.S. version of Spikes magazine. He currently manages the content and marketing development of the RunningNetwork, The Shoe Addicts, and RunBlogRun. Of RunBlogRun, his daily pilgrimage with the sport, Larry says: "I have to admit, I love traveling to far away meets, writing about the sport I love, and the athletes I respect, for my readers at runblogrun.com, the most of anything I have ever done, except, maybe running itself."
Theme song: Greg Allman, " I'm no Angel."
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