Kenya races to be struck off IAAF doping watch list by June
Kenya has stepped up efforts to ensure it is struck off from IAAF doping watch-list before the summer London 2017 World Championships in Athletics.
Visiting top IAAF anti-doping officials Thomas Capdeville and Kyle Barber held a meeting with senior representatives from the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, Athletics Kenya (AK) and the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) on Monday in Nairobi where they expressed satisfaction with steps being taken to stem the vice.
At a press conference held after the gathering, Capdevielle who is the acting Director-IAAF Anti-Doping Department lauded the efforts being made to ensure only clean Kenyan athletes compete in international competition.
Capdevielle who was accompanied by Kyle Barber who is the IAAF Out-Of-Competition Testing Coordinator were briefed on the AK and ADAK partnership with medics from Kenya Doctors Network (KDN) to vet the country’s runners before entering them in international competition.
“It was a very unique occasion to go through very practical topics around how to improve the domestic national testing program and how we can make it complementary to the IAAF program.
“To make sure that whenever the Kenyan teams, Kenyan athletes are representing Kenya in international competitions there can be no doubt that all measures or actions were put in place to make sure that the performances are coming from clean athletes and that they are not tainted,” Capdeville told the press after the meeting.
“This is around preventative steps, education, the network of Kenyan doctors who tried to put in place to make sure that Kenyan athletes go through the right channels, but also making sure testing making sure every elite athlete is subjected to sufficient level of testing before coming to World Championships and around case management and investigating to ensure that some networks are terminated or limiting the risk of doping in the country,” the IAAF acting Director added.
“So, It was a very fruitful meeting, we had all the commitments we were expecting from all the various sectors around the table, the commitments and we worked on an action plan, very practical steps not about very vague and general.
“It was practical meeting we are operational people and it was good to see we have all the commitments that we wanted and we can coordinate towards protecting clean Kenyan athletes,” Capdeville stressed.
Kenya, Morocco, Ethiopia, Belarus and Ukraine were put in the IAAF watch list last year due to a spike in doping cases after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declared ADAK as non-compliant to the Anti-Doping Code.
Despite ADAK being given the all clear shortly before the August Rio 2016 Olympics, the world governing body extended Kenya’s stay in the watch list for another year, placing pressure on the East African distance running giant to clean up its sport.
According to Athletics Kenya (AK) President Lt. Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei the close examination of the reports by the IAAF will help them know whether they are close to fully complying with the requirements set by the international body.
“Although we feel we are making good progress obviously we will depend a lot on the IAAF’s feedback concerning the reports we will have handed over. Through the reports they will tell us what we haven’t been doing well,” he said.
He revealed they discussed key areas the country needed to address such as upcoming events in 2017, testing of athletes and various systems they needed to put in place to steer the anti-doping agenda locally.
“We look into details what we really need to do to counter this vice. We also talked about holding frequent seminars similar to the one we conducted in Eldoret to educate our athletes,” Tuwei told.
The AK boss said the IAAF officials would return in the country next month for another assessment before a final visit in June where Kenya hopes to be struck off the IAAF doping watchlist.
He warned that there was a lot of work that needed to be done in terms of educating running saying that naivety and ignorance had played a major role in the emerging doping cases around the country.
ADAK CEO, Japhter Rugut said that they had set up several programs as required by IAAF in a bid to allay fears raised last year, where Kenya was accused of having a robust anti-doping system in place.
Rugut added the main challenge they faced was transporting samples to Nairobi before ferrying them to labs outside Kenya for testing.
“This long process that we have to undertake definitely derails the doping programs. We are made to wait for long periods before receiving results,” Rugut lamented.
Rugut announced they will extend the anti-doping programs to other sporting disciplines outside athletics in the country.
Apart from the blood tests athletes will also be subjected to a random out of competition urine tests where one will be ambushed without being notified in advance.
The Director of Administration at the Ministry Haron Komen assured the Government would support anti -doping mechanisms to prevent the country’s image from being tainted.
“We want to emphasize on fair competition like we have always done in the past. The country is about to hold a major event for the junior athletes. We will arguably use it to showcase sporting talents and as a chance to show that we support doping measures,” Komen emphasised.
-Report compiled by Bernard Ndong, Mutwiri Mutuota and Mwangi Githinji
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