NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 22 -Team Kenya’s Chef de Mission for the Rio Olympics, Stephen arap Soi, has termed the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to have Kenyan athletes undergo extra-doping scrutiny as harsh.
The IOC said on Tuesday that deficiencies in the anti-doping systems in Kenya and Russia had created doubts about the presumption of innocence for athletes from both countries.
The development was not welcomed by Soi, who maintained they will continue testing athletes in and out of competition locally as opposed to IOC’s decision to have the tests done abroad before the Rio Olympic Games scheduled for August 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I don’t know where that statement was picked from. If you go through the statistics Kenyan athletes are the most tested by virtue of them competing in road races and Diamond Leagues almost every weekend so you cannot compare Kenya and Russia,” Soi, who is also the National Olympic Committee-Kenya Assistant Treasurer, told Capital Sport.
“IOC doesn’t have athletes under their control, the control is from the national federations, so what is it that they want from us? They want us to test athletes twice before Olympics but we will do it thrice.”
“We are aware Germany wrote to IOC requesting them to bar us from competing in the Rio Olympics so that they can win so it’s not a matter of doping rather they fear the strong competition that they always face,” he added.
Soi assured that Kenya will compete at the Olympics even as the country await the non-compliance slapped on them by World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) to be reversed after amending the Kenyan anti-doping bill.
“We will go to Olympics and we will win. I will have 90 athletes in Rio and we will cooperate with IOC if they want to carry out doping tests while in Rio. Kenya is one of the 176 countries who are signatory to UNESCO convection and its only140 countries who have a robust Anti Doping Agency so why single out Kenya?” Soi questioned.
Kenya has come under scrutiny from the IAAF and WADA over its flagging doping system, necessitating changes to legislation to avoid expulsion of its world-beating distance runners from August’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
In May, WADA declared Kenya non-compliant after a legislation to criminalise doping passed in parliament failed to meet its requirements, forcing a review to bill to include parts which had been left out from the original draft passed by the world anti-doping agency.
Last week Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Arts and Culture Dr Hassan Wario announced that WADA had approved the amendments, which were awaiting the assent of President Uhuru Kenyatta for Kenya to be declared fully compliant with the WADA code.