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State to revive local anti-doping agency

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ATHLETE-LEGSNAIROBI, Kenya, February 11 – The Government will reconstitute the moribund Kenya Anti-Doping Agency (Kada) by March this year with expertise of the world agency and financial assistance from Norway and China, Cabinet Secretary for Sports Arts and Culture, Dr. Hassan Wario, announced on Tuesday.

According to Wario who hosted World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) officials at a Nairobi hotel, new Kada board members will be appointed with the local body Gazetted to ensure it is included in the next financial year.

“Doping is a global challenge and that’s why as the Government we are committed to see our athletes come out clean and show the world that we win by merit.

“We invited the foreign agencies to help us enhance the structures for the exercise in the country as we anticipate formulating our own that will be effective,” Wario said.

Anti-doping agencies of Norway and China, whose officials did not attend Tuesday’s meeting, will be integral in providing the Sh18m (USD208,937) needed to set up the local body that has been dormant for decades.

“One thing that came out from the meeting is education that will see us raise awareness to our athletes so that they can know what is expected of them,” Wario, who said they will roll out the program in primary and secondary schools as well as athletics meetings affirmed.

Wada Africa Director, Rodney Swigelaar, who arrived in the country on Monday, expressed frustration with the duration the Anti-Doping Task Force set up by Government in November has taken to get running after it requested the State to investigate rising doping cases in the country.

“For the last one year we have been working with Norway who is one of the partners on how we can assist Kenya and East Africa develop anti doping programmes in the region.

“The Government of Kenya have certainly shown they are planning to ensure it is enhanced through education, structural development and resource mobilization,” the Wada official added.

“We are looking forward to receive a comprehensive and transparent report on what is happening here and find out if the allegations are true.”

Commenting on the Task force, the Cabinet Secretary assured they have added money to the commission to continue with its investigations.

“The task force is on its 23rd day of the findings, they requested for more funds on top of the 4.5m (USD 52,216.3) that we gave them initially.

“They gave us the budget that was too high but we rationalized it and gave them the cash to continue with their task.We have received the preliminary report but at this point we are not allowed to tell anyone,” he explained.

Chairman for the Anti-Doping task force, Professor Moni Wekesa, urged Kenyans to be patient and wait for the outcome that will come to a conclusion by the end of March.

“We have visited major cities including Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kakamega and Kapsabet where we talked to federation officials, doctors, coaches and athletes including those who have tested positive in the past.

“They have given us useful information that we are going to build on to arrive at a conclusive report that will share with the rest of the world,” he stated.

The committee is probing people involved in drugs, identify persons or institutions linked to doping, access to drugs and related substances among athletes within the country, make recommendations on the legal structures that could eliminate the use and abuse of drugs among others.

In total, 17 Kenyan athletes have tested positive for banned substances since January 2012, a trend that saw the country at cross hairs with Wada during their last Congress in South Africa where the Government provided assurances it would look into cases.

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