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Kenyan dopers should come clean, says Boston Marathon champion

Retired world champion Moses Tanui says the only way to get over Kenya's current doping scandals is for past dopers to come clean

Former 10,000m world champion and two-time Boston Marathon winner Moses Tanui is tired of hearing about his fellow Kenyan runners getting busted for doping. There are currently 58 Kenyan runners on the Athletics Integrity Unit’s (AIU) Global List of Ineligible Persons, and that’s not including athletes who have been handed provisional suspensions by the AIU, like marathon champions Wilson Kipsang and Daniel Wanjiru. Tanui believes he has a way to fix the current state of Kenyan athletics: create a repercussion-free forum where athletes can admit to their doping.

Jemima Sumgong
Kenya’s Jemima Sumgong wins the 2016 Olympic marathon. In 2017, she tested positive for EPO.

In addition to being a world and Boston Marathon champion, Tanui was the first person to run under an hour for the half-marathon when he posted a 59:47 in Milan in 1993. He told the Daily Nation that, in order to move forward, athletes need to look within themselves and decide that the right thing to do is to confess to past doping violations.

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“This is the time to put our minds together and think about the future,” he said. Tanui also noted that athletes who come clean could point to coaches and doctors who helped them dope. “We need to come together as athletes and chart the way forward. We should allow athletes who have doped to make confessions, and even disclose who has been giving them drugs.”

Daniel Wanjiru and Kenenisa Bekele at the 2017 London Marathon.

It’s one thing to create this type of forum, but it could be difficult to attract retired dopers and convince them to confess, especially for athletes who won major races and world championship and Olympic medals.

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It could be wishful thinking that something like this could exist, but Tanui said he believes it’s an important step to take, and that it will be an effective way to show the current and future generations of Kenyan runners that they shouldn’t go down the same path. “We need to advise them to simply train hard, like we did during our days, and win clean.”