As with every IAAF World Series event, significant resources are being devoted to the anti-doping programme being implemented at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. A large unannounced out-of-competition testing programme has taken place in the months leading up to the event, while in Mombasa itself approximately 200 blood screening samples have been collected for the purpose of the IAAF profiling programme and at least 30 urine samples will be taken on the race day itself.
However, in what is becoming increasingly common, the athletes themselves are standing up and making it clear that they will not tolerate people who cheat in their sport. One of the leading voices at these Championships is current men’s 800m World record holder, Wilson Kipketer. Wilson, acting in his role as IAAF Ambassador, is in Kenya to support the anti-doping programme and particularly to participate in the anti-doping education sessions taking part in the lead-up to the event.
“I am extremely pleased to be part of such an important programme here in Mombasa. In my opinion doping is something that can greatly hurt our sport so I am enjoying meeting many athletes from all over the world and talking with them about anti-doping. I want to show them, particularly the juniors, that you can become a World champion and World record holder without doping, and to point out issues they need to be aware of ,” said Wilson.
Each team and their athletes have been given the opportunity to come to an informal meeting and hear Wilson talk about the importance of competing drug free and to hear the perspective of an athlete that has been through the same experiences they have. For many athletes, particularly the juniors, these Championships may represent the first time they are subject to testing or education and they are embracing the opportunity to ask questions to Wilson and to show their support for anti-doping. Also on hand to answer any questions have been members of the IAAF Medical and Anti-Doping Department.
The education and doping control work of the IAAF will continue throughout the Championships and will be published on the IAAF website when all results have been received.
Chris Butler for the IAAF