Legendary middle-distance runner David Rudisha claimed that the ongoing doping scandal that has plagued athletics requires wholesale reforms — particularly from the Russian Federation. The two-time Olympic gold medallist said the allegations of wide-spread state-sponsored doping in Russia has brought ‘great disrepute’ to the sport.
“If the whole federation is doing this, then we lack integrity in the sport. Imagine a state sponsoring such a thing, it’s a very big scandal. This is one of the highest levels of corruption, and they have to do lots of reforms to bring sports back,” he told The Indian Express. He further added that Kenya’s involvement in the scandal has been of a relatively lower scale compared to Russia. “Kenya being one of the countries that is being watched, have a lot of young athletes that have been caught doping. Most of the Kenyan athletes caught with the problem of cheating are doing it individually, or in small groups,” he added.
The 28-year-old Kenyan, who became the only athlete to break the 1:41 minute mark in the 800 m race at London 2012 — clocking a world record time 1:40.91 in what is considered as the greatest ever run — added the athletes who are indulging doping are stealing more than a medal from clean participants.
“You can imagine someone doping and winning in championships, denying the geniune players the pride of being up there (on the podium), hearing their national anthem, and enjoying the moment of that time. If I finish second and somebody was ahead of me, he’s stolen that moment from me.”
In turn, he said his frustration towards how clean athletes are coming under disrepute because of cheating individuals. “People, lazy people, want to run for cheap success. But we know there are those athletes who are honest. They believe in clean sports and working hard. It’s sad when something like this happens because it locks them (clean athletes) out. What about those who are good? These bad ones are causing them all problems,” he said.
“In sport we want to see athletes competing with good heart and making sport what it is. We want to see sport alive today and tomorrow, and even make it better.”
The 28-year-old, who is currently in the city serving as the ambassador of the Mumbai Marathon, defended his title at London by repeating a successful run in Rio last year. He further set a target of attempting to claim an unprecedented third successive title at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Still, he has been alarmed at the rate in which the doping scandal has steadily engulfed athletics as a whole.
“We love sport and we love to compete. But this has been a very big issue over the years. Before it was mostly with the sprinters, and now it’s coming to middle, and long distance – marathons.”
Starting with Russia implementing reforms, he calls for strong measures to be put into place to curb the problem. “We hope that with good regulations the sport will come back strongly, with people competing and respecting the sportsmen and sportswomen. And also, you respect others,” he added.