Mark Otieno: The resilient sprinter returns to the track stronger and wiser

Three-time Kenyan national sprint champion Mark Otieno has resumed training after  serving a two-year ban for testing positive for the banned anabolic steroid methasterone.

Otieno's positive test was returned just moments after competing in the Tokyo Olympics 100M heats in 2021.

Speaking to Citizen TV, the 29-year-old athlete says he is ready to put the past behind him and make a triumphant comeback to the sport he loves.

Reflecting on the moment he received the news of his suspension in Tokyo, Otieno expresses his shock and disappointment. 

"It was quite difficult when I got the news that I was suspended because I read the e-mail a few hours towards my first race," he recalled.

"That one was really shocking because I was really looking forward to competing in the Olympics. It was like something I was given then snatched away from my hand."

Despite the setback, Otieno remains determined to stay focused on his athletic journey.

He praised the support of his coach from South Africa, with whom he aimed to qualify for the Olympics and secure financial backing – a challenge he acknowledged as tough to overcome.

During his ban, Otieno faced various challenges that tested his mental, spiritual, and physical strength. Nevertheless, he persisted in training in isolation, preparing himself to return to the track as soon as the ban was lifted. 

Looking back on the experience, he now says "it was quite challenging, quite humbling. I reached a point where I was like, let me train looking forward."

When the day finally came for him to resume his athletics career, Otieno couldn't contain his excitement.

"I have been looking forward to this day to be honest," he says, adding; "Now that I am back I feel so much lighter, I feel at peace."

Otieno urges the federation, Athletics Kenya as well as the Anti Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to establish its own testing labs, considering the country's significant number of athletes competing globally.

This, he notes, could significantly reduce the time taken for athletes to get their test results, providing a more efficient and streamlined process.

With a passion for the sport and a desire to help upcoming athletes avoid similar pitfalls, he also emphasizes the importance of sharing his knowledge about supplement use to protect others from the problems he encountered.

"When it comes to supplements, I'll say what I have learned I am willing to share so that no one can enter in the same trap that I was because supplementation can get anyone. That's one thing I always tell athletes," Otieno said.

As he embarks on his comeback journey, Otieno is focused on enjoying the process.

"I just want to have fun. I just want to take each step at a time. I want to enjoy the process. Start where I left off just to see where this thing will take us," he says optimistically, as he kicks off his official training and a search to enter into races.

With his ban now behind him, Otieno is ready to embrace the future and make the most of his second chance.


Citizen Digital Doping Citizen TV Kenya Mark Otieno Methasterone

Want to send us a story? SMS to 25170 or WhatsApp 0743570000 or Submit on Citizen Digital or email

Leave a Comment


No comments yet.

latest stories