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Kawauchi Speaks Out on Doping Problem

translated and edited by Brett Larner

The civil servant runner has spoken out.  In an interview on Nov. 14 following his appearance at a talk show event ahead of the Nov. 15 Saitama International Women's Marathon, Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) addressed the problem of systematic doping in the Russian athletics world.  "All of the strict drug testing we have to go through, and now this?  It's really unpleasant news," he said.

For elite athletes drug testing is rigorous and strict.  Since his breakthrough to the top level of the sport in Japan at the 2011 Tokyo Marathon Kawauchi has been tested over 30 times.  He and other athletes must report their daily whereabouts to the JADA in conjunction with WADA and are subjected to surprise, unannounced testing.  Kawauchi has been woken up for testing at 6:00 a.m. in the days before major races and while relaxing at home at 9:00 p.m.  In some of his testing Kawauchi has had blood samples taken by poorly skilled medical personnel who left his arm bruised and swollen following multiple withdrawals of blood.  To eliminate the possibility of fraud, urine samples must be given with pants lowered to the knees and shirt raised under the arms, all in front of the eyes of testing personal.

Despite the embarrassment, inconvenience and even pain, Kawauchi said that he is happy to do the testing to help ensure clean sport.  "Reporting whereabouts is a good thing, but it's a real headache," he said.  "You have to look up the address and contact info for any hotel you're going to stay in and even put in your flight numbers.  The rest of us have to go though this in the name and spirit of fair competition, and then we hear about systematic doping by a federation?  Honestly, I feel like, 'Somebody do something, for God's sake!'"  He could not hide his concern about the future of testing.  "I think things like whereabouts are going to become even stricter now, and that could become a real burden for a lot of athletes," he said.  "It would be better if they made us all wear GPS tracking devices."

Due to the IAAF's provisional suspension of the Russian Federation, Russian athlete Tatyana Arkhipova has been blocked from competing on Kawauchi's hometown soil at the inaugural Saitama International Marathon.  "That's the way it goes," he said.  "Too bad."


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