, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – Kenyan athletes hoping to participate in the Rio Olympics slated for August have a ray of hope after the Anti-Doping Bill was listed for debate in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Kenya is racing against time to meet the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) deadline which was extended to May 5 to ensure compliance. This comes after the country missed the two initial deadlines of February 16 and April 5.
2012 Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir who is also the Cherangany MP has exuded confidence that Kenya will beat the third WADA deadline after the House Committee on Labour and Social Welfare met in Mombasa and endorsed the Bill which proposes severe punishment for persons or bodies found culpable of violating doping regulations.
According to Korir who has been spearheading the legislation, the House Committee also approved a programme of activities which will see the House approve the Bill by April 19 after MPs have debated and considered proposed amendments brought during the Committee of the Whole House.
Once the Bill becomes law, it will empower the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to impose a Sh100,000 fine and/or a year in jail on an athlete caught doping while those caught smuggling or administering banned substances will face a Sh3 million fine or a three-year jail term and in case of corporate bodies, in addition to the fine, the trading license shall be withdrawn for a period of not less than one year.
A registered sports body that commits the prohibited activities shall be subject to either a reprimand, withdrawal of services that are funded by public resources, withholding for a stated period, on terms to be determined by the Tribunal of some or all public funding awarded but not yet paid to the Agency or deregistered by the Sports Registrar.
Medical practitioners are not spared either as those who will be found prescribing, administering or possessing prohibited substances shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of not less than Sh3million ($30,000) and/or imprisonment for not less than three years.
On top of those penalties, the practitioner’s professional license will be revoked for a period of not less than one year.
The new Bill is intended to save Kenyan athletes from an Olympics ban threatened by IAAF president Sebastian Coe.
When Kenya missed the February deadline to prove it was doing enough to combat drug-taking, Coe said he would severely punish any country guilty of attempting to cover up doping.
The IAAF earlier this month listed Kenya among five countries in “critical care” over their inadequate anti-doping measures.
Some 40 Kenyan athletes have been involved in drug scandals in the last three years leading to the suspension of Athletics-Kenya Chief Executive Officer Isaac Mwangi for alleged corruption involving doping cover-ups, drawing a sharp rebuke from WADA.