Justin Lagat writes a weekly column from Kenya for runblogrun. He has done this for several years now and we love his writing and insights into the sport in Kenya.
Justin and I share the conviction that transparent anti doping protocals and education build up respect for the sport.
This week, he was visited by WADA/ADAK. Here is his story…
It was a normal Thursday morning like any other. Being off-season with my training, I was relaxing in the house with my daughter before my wife arrived from a speed workout with the group. This day it was a fartlek. Since she had taken a light breakfast ahead of the workout, she took a second breakfast and relaxed. Then, there was a knock at the door. I went out to check and it was the anti-doping control officers from the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK).
This was out of the blue. My wife just learned about running about two years ago. I, on the other hand, can hardly remember ever having finished any race within the top 20 positions in Kenya in the last 15 years. It was such a big surprise to me. Why would anyone direct them to my house? Shouldn’t there be a pool of athletes that are to be tested? I asked myself a number of questions. I thought perhaps they had been misdirected by someone, asked them why they came particularly for me and my wife and they did explain to me that they were targeting any athlete who has the potential to win any race in the future. It sounded exciting for me; perhaps I can win a race in the future!
Well, whether I was in any pool, or not, I saw no reason to object the testing. After all, it was going to be a golden opportunity for me to undergo what I usually thought was a reserve for the professional athletes. I guess I can now count myself as a professional athlete as well. It was also a rare opportunity as a journalist to get a first-hand experience and understand more about the anti-doping process.
It should always be the case; that every athlete, regardless of their level of running should be aware that they are always responsible for anything that enters their body. Being made aware that they can be tested anytime will certainly instill in them the need to seek enough information on matters to do with doping.
Up to now, whenever they talk about the anti-doping awareness campaigns, most of the upcoming and young athletes often think that it is a process reserved for those who finish in the top ten positions in races and that as long as they are not anywhere near that bracket, then they still do not need to know anything on the subject.
Once every athlete knows what doping is all about and what substances can abused, then they will also be in a good position to report any suspects in the fight against doping.