NAIROBI, November 7 – Kenya risks a four- year international competitions ban starting with 2016 Olympics with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) pushing for the country to be punished for complicity in fighting doping.
WADA has put Kenya on the spot after what they perceive to be empty promises to stem escalating use of banned substances among the country’s athletes.
The world anti-doping body Director General; David Howman told The New York Times on September 4 that the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) exists in name only.
ADAK which was constituted early this year is yet to fully function and that could lead to sanctions by the WADA since it means Kenyan athletes are not tested for doping especially out of competition.
On Saturday, a joint communication between the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK), National Olympic Committee of Kenya, Africa Zone v RADO and Athletics Kenya was released in a bid to avert the possibility of such severe action.
It detailed what they termed as strict measures being taken to establish a robust and autonomous doping agency in affirming commitment to stem rising cases of convicted drug cheats that stand at 35 since 2012.
“We recognise the seriousness of the doping issue in Kenya and its consequences on the future of our sports men and women. We are therefore in support of the efforts and initiatives by the Government of Kenya and its agencies in addressing this challenge.
“We know the importance of having a functional ADAK which include drafting of an anti-doping policy and bill which are currently being subjected to the various stakeholders before approval by the parliament,” part of the statement read.
The communiqué further declared institutions and individuals aiding doping amongst athletes are being arrested with the office of the Sports Registrar put in place to ensure registration of all agents and managers before they are allowed to work with Kenyan athletes.
The statement stated Sh15.3m (USD150, 000) has been spent by the State on anti-doping programs and activities to fight the vice that has seen cases of doping spike recently in Kenya after top female marathoner star Rita Jeptoo was banned for two years in February for using prohibited substances.
“We will stay focused in the fight against doping in sport and continue working together with stake holders to eradicate the menace. The Ministry of Sports and ADAK are in collaboration with Anti-Doping Norway, China Anti-Doping Agency and WADA to ensure Kenya has a robust institution capable of fully embracing and disseminating anti-doping programmes and activities,” the statement added.
Athletes, medical practitioners and official who engage in the malpractice were strongly cautioned and if one is found, he/she will be dealt with in accordance with the laws as the Government work hard to fast track the legislation process.
If ADAK doesn’t comply with the WADA Code, the world anti doping agency will report the status to WADA’s foundation board, which could then send the case to an independent compliance committee for review.
If that committee finds ADAK guilty, it could deem Kenya officially noncompliant attracting the International Olympic Committee and the I.A.A.F. to punish Kenya including barring their officials from working international events, barring the country from hosting official events and banning Kenyan athletes from competing for their country in the Olympics.