UNITED KINGDOM, February 18 – IAAF President Sebastian Lord Coe has not ruled out the possibility of both Kenya and Russia being absent from the athletics at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
The Russians are already in a precarious position after being hit with a suspension for running a state-sponsored doping programme.
But Coe said the rash of doping scandals in Kenya could lead to their exclusion from the Games despite topping the medal table at last year’s World Championships in Beijing with seven gold medals.
Since 2011 more than 40 Kenyan athletes have failed drugs tests and this week the chief executive of Athletics Kenya, Isaac Mwangi, stepped down temporarily from his position amid allegations that he asked athletes for bribes to reduce doping bans.
Mwangi denied any wrongdoing but is now under investigation by the IAAF.
The previous week Kenya missed a deadline to prove to World Anti-Doping Agency that it was taking the necessary steps to combat cheating and has now been placed on a ‘watch-list’ of nations at risk of breaching the agency’s code.
Speaking on BT Sport’s ‘The Clare Balding Show’ – which airs on Thursday night at 10:30pm on BT Sport 1 – IAAF president Coe said. “We know that a disproportionate amount of reputational damage is caused by a relatively few countries and we have to be very much more proactive.
“If it means pulling them out of World Championships or Olympic Games then we will have to do that. I know the World Anti-Doping Agency has looked very closely at the Kenyan National Anti-Doping Agency. We of course monitor that through the IAAF so that work is ongoing.”
Asked about Russia’s chances of becoming ‘code-compliant’ before the Olympics and the timing of any decision on their participation, Coe said, “I haven’t put a time frame on it. But the decision will not be decided by political pressure or because the Olympic movement want Russia back.”