Dutch veteran road runner speaks out against doping

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NAIROBI, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Experienced Dutch road runner Gert Brienne said on Thursday that Kenyan athletes do not need to take performance-enhancing drugs in order to win races because they have the talent in addition to the hard work that they put in training.

Brienne, who has trained with Kenya's top-level athletes, said those athletes who have tested positive have put a blemish on the country's name and made the innocent ones to be viewed with suspicion.

"I have trained with Kenyan runners and I can attest that they work hard. However, they only allow me to train with them on days when they are on go-slow program because I cannot cope with fast-paced training," Brienne told Xinhua before flying out of Nairobi to Amsterdam.

The 51-year-old cargo pilot with the Dutch airline KLM said he has been flying to Kenya since 1995 during which he has made acquaintances and trained with the country's athletes.

"I used to train on the treadmill in a hotel gym in the basement, which I found quite depressing and I told myself 'I'm here in the country of runners and I'm running in a basement? Something is wrong.' I made contact with Lornah Kiplagat who is married to a Dutchman and she put me in contact with a group of runners in Nairobi," Brienne said.

Among them are 2016 Rio Olympic marathon gold medalist Eliud Kipchoge, former marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto, and two-time 3,000m steeplechase Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi.

Early this week, Amina Mohammed, cabinet secretary for sports, said that those athletes who shall test positive for banned substances will not be allowed to represent the country in any competition.

"Once they fail doping test, it's over for them and even after they serve their suspension, we will not allow them to leave the country to compete abroad," Mohammed told officials of Athletics Kenya.

In the last seven months, Kenya has registered six cases of doping to join over 400 athletes who have been banned since the Beijing 4008 Olympic Games.