Athletics Athletics

Kenya ‘clearly’ a doping problem- WADA

Rita Jeptoo when she won her second Chicago title. PHOTO/File
Rita Jeptoo when she won her second Chicago title. PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, January 14 – Kenya “clearly” has a doping problem in athletics that may need a new investigation, World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) inquiry chief and former head of the body; Richard Pound said Thursday when releasing the publication of a second report into corruption and a leaked blood database.

Pound told a press conference he had not been able to look into Kenya or other suspect countries because he only had a mandate to investigate doping in Russia.

“We know that there is a problem. We have not investigated Kenya that was not part of our mandate.

“There may be some other independent commission that would have a look at Kenya once some of the smoke clears. But we were not authorised to go any further with that but there is clearly a problem,” Pound underscored.

More than 40 Kenyan athletes have been suspended for doping in the past two years.

In December, three top Athletics Kenya (AK) officials including president Isaiah Kiplagat, deputy president, David Okeyo and former treasurer, Joseph Kinyua, were suspended by the IAAF Ethics Commission for alleged corruption and covering up doping.

In a rejoinder, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture, Dr. Hassan Wario said the Ministry is studying the report and will only issue appropriate response if there is any Kenyan athlete mentioned in the report.

“The Government of Kenya acknowledges the WADA report issued today and will study its findings and observations in detail.

“The report that has been released does not mention Kenya adversely but we are still waiting for it to trickle in and see if there is any mention of Kenya or Kenyan athlete at any point and it’s at that point that we will be able to give appropriate response,” the minister declared.

Fears that the country would receive severe sanctions such as those meted on Russia were allayed by the report but it does not mean Kenya was exonerated from citation as a haven of doping concern.

Wario, who summoned top AK officials led by president, Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jack Tuwei to his office, announced the Government has developed a draft legislation that provides legal guidelines for dealing with doping which will include punishment and penalties for any violations.

The legislation that outlines clear responsibility for Anti Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) that was gazetted on December 24 was overseen by WADA officials and is new waiting to be submitted to parliament to de debated and enacted into law in the coming weeks.

“We have a robust policy on doping that will hand severe punishment for officials found culpable for any violation, this will be presented to cabinet very soon for review and approval.

“The Government will not, and does not tolerate doping of any sort in Kenyan sport and will take action against anyone proven to contravene national or international sporting rules,” Wario added.

Being an Olympic year, the minister urged the new AK leadership to eradicate the doping menace and ensure finest athletes are selected to compete at the Summer Games to be held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in August.

“Kenyan athletes are known all over in the world for the finest long distance running. Our athletes are our Ambassadors around the globe and we are committed to ensuring that all athletes who represent this proud nation compete fairly and cleanly at all times, upholding high levels of integrity that is expected of all Kenyans by our government.”