Top official says govt is not taking doping seriously

Kenya's government has failed to seriously tackle doping and must act swiftly to prevent its athletes being banned at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the chairman of Kenya's Olympic committee said on Tuesday.

Kenyan runners caught cheating in Nairobi marathon

Dozens of Kenyan runners have been caught doping in the past few years, tarnishing the reputation of the east African country famed for its middle and long-distance runners.

The World-Anti Doping Agency (WADA) ratcheted up pressure on Kenya last week by threatening the country with a four-year ban unless it stepped up the fight against drugs cheats.

Kipchoge Keino, a Kenyan running great and chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), said government officials have shown little appetite to act against doping.

"I have personally tried to reach government officials to agree on how to act on this menace but I don't get appointments. I make calls that are unanswered," Keino told Reuters.

"We even tried to convince senior government officials to attend these meetings, but they instead delegate to junior officers."

WADA this week called for Russia to be suspended from international competition after publishing a report alleging a state-sponsored culture including systematic doping, cover ups and bribe-taking.

Keino said Kenya's sports ministry has been "ambivalent" on doping matters and urged the government to take drastic measures to demonstrate its anti-doping credentials, including introducing new laws to criminalise those involved in doping.

"That way, we shall convince the world of our commitment to fighting this crime. Anything else is just sugar coating," added Keino, a two-time Olympic gold medallist.

WADA and other officials have voiced frustration over the years that Athletics Kenya (AK) has not cracked down on doping, despite frequent promises that it would do so.

Athletics Kenya has denied accusations of corruption and said it was trying hard to root out doping. It has vowed to investigate all failed tests and this year suspended two foreign coaches who trained several Kenyan runners who doped.

AK on Saturday also said the government was working to fast-track anti-doping legislation.

Kenya has recently established an independent anti-doping agency but it has few facilities to test athletes.

It is estimated that more than 35 Kenyan runners have failed drugs tests in the last three years, including Rita Jeptoo, winner of the Boston and Chicago Marathons.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

Mir hits hat-trick to send Spain into Olympic semi with Japan

Nigerian men's basketball team has been eliminated from the Olympics after 3 straight losses

Exploring the Nigerian connections at the 2021 NBA Draft

'Bitter' PSG face nemesis Lille in Tel Aviv

Nigerian sprinter Blessing Okagbare suspended from the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for a prohibited substance

Arsenal swoop for '£50 million' Brighton defender White

Man United drop new kit for 2021/2022 season

European loss emphasises scale of Postecoglou's task at Celtic

USA beat Netherlands on penalties to reach Olympic women's football semis