IAAF Doping expert urges athletes to stick to traditional pre-race routines

By evelyn watta
Nov 28, 2013
  • Dr Giuseppe Fischetto, member of the IAAF Anti-Doping Commission.(Photo:SNA)

Kenyan track and filed runners have been cautioned against over reliance on dietary supplements that have been linked to positive drug tests, and instead stick-at least in part- with tradition while preparing for their events.

Though the extent of the connection between supplement use and positive doping tests has not fully been established, some athletes have claimed that the test outcomes have occurred accidentally through the use of the ‘sports food’.

It is a link that Dr Giuseppe Fischetto, a member of the IAAF Anti-Doping Commission largely followed through while warning athletes on the trust they put in these supplements.

“My message through out the seminar was simple stick to the traditional methods you have used these are training, nutrition, rest and recovery,”Fischetto told Sportsnewsarena.com at the end of an intense three-day Athletes education seminar in Eldoret on Thursday, adding that it was difficult for the athletes to prove that they inadvertently took supplements that contain banned substances.

“It is always better and safer for the athletes instead of using supplements to get the nutrition required from the natural food which you have here in plenty.Supplements are good but they have been linked to some positive tests and again it is hard for an athlete to prove to the authorities this link.”

Medical and Doping was one of the key topics that were discussed at the Athletics Kenya organized seminar aimed at educating their runners in the wake of claims and concern that the country’s runners have widely used performance enhancing drugs. Over the last year 17 runners have returned positive tests some attended the sensitization forums.

Giusseppe’s drug education messages were clear that athletes are responsible for their own actions as debate rages on, on the role played by their managers and coaches in administering these supplements.

“We know as IAAF and have a problem with the managers because they sometimes push them as they want to boost their performance and maximize earnings. They enter them in too many races which is good for their pockets but bad for the athletes, as they have no time to recover and are forced take supplements,” added the Italian medical expert.

High divorce rates among athletes  

With the high risks linked to supplements it was clear that education was key in reducing the rate of positive tests.

“When they are educated they know it is better to go to the Doctor for the suitable prescription as an athlete instead of self diagnosis which could cause them problems.”

Certainly education was also a key subject of discussion at the sessions with the facilitators stressing the need to integrate education with their high performance sporting careers. About 150 athletes attended the seminar including deaf runners.

The athletes were also taken through media, retirement benefits and insurance matters. They were also advised on various investment opportunities available, discussions that brought to fore rising need for marriage counseling among the athletes with an alarming divorce rate estimated at 60%.

Recently there were reports of acrimonious separation between 2011 Chicago marathon champion Moses Mosop and his wife Florence Kiplagat,the 2013 Berlin marathon winner, a scenario that is apparently replicated across several Kenyan runners homes.

“This was a very enlightening seminar that has also helped us know what other areas we need to focus on for future sessions. Like for instance the alarming divorce trends means there is need to counsel the athletes on a better approach by these athletes most of whom who marry when they are very young to the concept of marriage,”said AK Vice President David Okeyo.

The seminar also discussed the burning issue of agents and managers and the roles they play in the athletes’ careers which was extensively tackled by IAAF Legal advisor Habib Cisse.