Mark Otieno has pleaded his innocence following doping allegations that stunned Team Kenya’s camp here and saw the sprinter provisionally suspended just hours to his Olympic 100 metres first round race at the Tokyo National Stadium.
Team Kenya’s chef de mission Waithaka Kioni announced that Otieno’s samples had attracted adverse analytical findings when studied on Thursday.
Otieno was subsequently withdraw from Heat Four of the first round with compatriot Ferdinand Omanyala pulling himself together to qualify for Sunday’s semi-finals from Heat Five.
Omanyala ran a national record-equaling 10.01 second to also become the first Kenyan sprinter to reach the semi-finals at the Olympics.
“I hereby confirm that we have received communication this afternoon from International Testing Agency (ITA) regarding one of our sprinters who has had an adverse analytical finding on a urine sample he provided on 28 July, 2021,” Kioni’s statement read.
“The sprinter had been residing in Kurume City for the Team Kenya Pre-Games Training Camp from 15th July 2021 until 24th July when he moved into the Olympic Village in Tokyo.”
‘War against doping’
Meanwhile, Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo said the government had received the letter on Otieno’s adverse findings and maintained that his ministry is stopping at nothing in its war against doping.
“The Ministry has received an official report about the adverse analytical findings on samples collected from Mark Otieno, Kenya’s 100m athlete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” the statement by PS Okudo said.
“The Ministry is still waiting for the conclusion of an appeal filed by the athlete and underscores the Government’s commitment in the fight against doping.
Otieno, who qualified for the Games running on borrowed spikes during the national trials last month, was due to take part in the 100 metres heats on Saturday starting 1.45pm EAT alongside compatriot Omanyala.
It’s a big blow to the sprint sensation who took part in various meets across Africa chasing the qualifying time.
“He remains provisionally suspended from participating in his event today,” Kioni said.
“The sprinter is fully aware of this communication and is in receipt of the letter from ITA. He has however denied any knowledge of the violation and has subsequently requested a re-analysis of his B urine sample.
Otieno issued a statement on his social media pages pleading his innocence and vowing to clear his name.
“By now the whole world is aware that my name was removed from the start list of the 100m men’s competition due to a positive test for banned substances,” he said in the statement.
“We have appealed the result and decision and requested for further tests.
“As we honour the due process undergoing, I want to categorically state and be on the record that I have never been involved in doping of any kind.”
Kioni stated that the athlete will be treated as innocent “until we receive the results of his Sample B urine analysis.”
He added that the Olympic committee and Team Kenya do not condone doping and will continue to partner with the Anti-doping Agency of Kenya in the continuous provision of anti-doping education to all athletes.
Earlier on Saturday, Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare was also suspended after failing a doping test.
Kenya is in Category “A” of the World Athletics and World Anti-Doping Agency watch list therefore all athletes who expect to participate in major world athletics championships must go through three out-of-competition tests within 10 months before the events.
The tests must be done three weeks apart within the 10 months’ period and three weeks to the championships, including one mandatory blood test.
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