RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Aug 12 – Deputy President William Ruto has said the Government will deal firmly with anyone engaging in doping after shame rocked Team Kenya camp at the Rio Olympics following the expulsion of two athletics officials.
The latest bombshell saw Kenyan sprints coach John Anzrah sent home on the eve of the athletics programme after allegedly caught in possession of 800m runner Ferguson Rotich’s accreditation card and going ahead to produce urine test before the Doping Control Officer exposed him.
The first incidence saw track and field team manager Major (Rtd) Michael Rotich deported from the Rio Olympics on Sunday after investigations by the Sunday Times newspaper and German television channel ARD showed the athletics official demanding Sh1.3mn (£10,000) for agreeing to warn a British coach about imminent doping tests.
Ruto, who arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, put on notice sports personalities and administrators in the country saying those abetting the practice will face the law.
“All institutions in Government from the Executive, Legislature and others have demonstrated that we are committed to clean sports, that is what Kenya is known for and it is not about to change,” said the Deputy President. We now have legislation that gives the Kenya Anti-Doping Agency the mandate, tools and the force of law to ensure that Kenya becomes a doping-free nation,” he noted.
Ruto said the State will not allow a few individuals who want to use shortcuts, to ruin Kenya’s hard-earned reputation in athletics.
“All Kenyan athletes have been tested and we have made sure that we have complied with requests and demands from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Athletics Association of Federations (IAAF),” Ruto declared.
“The Government will protect the millions of Kenyans who love sport and the reputation of hundreds of athletes who compete fairly. We must protect our sports status, ensure the law is followed and anyone falling on the wrong side will be dealt with. It should be clearly understood by our sports administrators and sportsmen and women that the law will be applied.”
The Deputy President said the Government had come good on its promise to Team Kenya that either the President or himself would travel to Rio to “stand with the team”.
“We are here in anticipation that Kenya will once again be the world champion. The team is upbeat and we expect the first gold medal today that will herald our hunt for medals in this city,” he said.
“My presence here is a confirmation that Kenyans stand with their team. I have come loaded with goodwill messages and people back home are glued to their screens knowing we have men and women who will run for the country.”
Ruto will join Kenyan fans at the Olympic Stadium to watch the 10,000m women finals that represents Team Kenya’s first opportunity to win a medal.
The race, scheduled for 5:15pm Kenyan time, will see Kenyan trio world champion Vivian Cheruiyot, African title holder Alice Aprot and U.S based Betsy Saina compete for honours.
World record holder and defending champion David Rudisha, will also contest the 800m heats.