Mark Otieno (l) and Ferdinand Omanyala after they qualified for the Tokyo Olympics during trials held at Kasarani in June 2021. [Photo/ AK]
Mark Otieno (l) and Ferdinand Omanyala after they qualified for the Tokyo Olympics during trials held at Kasarani in June 2021. [Photo/ AK]

Mark Otieno, the Kenyan sprinter suspended for a dopíng violation at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, has launched a bid to clear his name and return to the track.

Otieno pleaded innocent, blaming the violation on his unsuspecting use of nutritional supplements which contained banned substances. Among other things, he wants the government to lead sweeping reforms to regulate the supplements industry in Kenya.

He hopes results from an accredited lab on the supplements he used will see his suspension lifted allowing him to return to action.

Interestingly, Otieno has retained the services of  SnoLegal – the sports law firm which represented Africa’s 100m record holder Ferdinand Omanyala as he battled a similar violation early in his career.

Omanyala was banned for 14 months from October 2018, but bounced back to have an incredible year in 2021 breaking the Kenyan and African 100m records landing him an Adidas deal and more.

So much had been the hype around Otieno, a former Kenyan 100m record holder, that Safaricom backed the 28-year old athlete ahead of the Olympics with a Ksh1 million sponsorship. The story of how he qualified for Tokyo using borrowed spikes to finish second in the trials held at Kasarani had grabbed headlines and tugged at heartstrings.

Otieno was supposed to shine alongside Omanyala in Tokyo as Kenya’s representatives  in the 100m, but this was not to be. News before the race that he had failed the test left many fans of Team Kenya dejected.

The athlete admitted  that it had been difficult since he was hit with the suspension but was determined to clear  his name. He noted that the results from the lab on the supplements would boost his case.

“The last many months have been torturous, but I have stayed committed to the disciplinary process I was put under, even as I continue to pursue avenues to clear my name, I am grateful to have received this vindication,” he wrote.

Otieno has also petitioned the President, Cabinet and Parliament to develop regulatory and policy measures to protect new athletes from similar pitfalls. Breaking down the petitions, lawyer Sarah Ochwada of SnoLegal shared that they were;

“Petition to the President of Kenya to place an immediate moratorium on the importation of all supplements until Parliament & the Cabinet put in place legislation & policies to protect Kenyan athletes, consumers & businesses.”
“Petition to the Cabinet to form a taskforce to test supplements which are already in circulation in the Kenyan market for prohibited substances & to lobby WADA to fast-track approval of accredited lab in Kenya to analyze urine samples for timely reporting of athletes results.”
“Petition to Parliament to enact legislation to prohibit importation and sale of any supplements within Kenya which manufacturers have not subjected to prior testing & clearance by a WADA-accredited lab.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here