Kenya rugby cleared of all doping allegations


Willy Ambaka races to score Kenya's third try against New Zealand at USA 7s on ...
(FILE)Willy Ambaka races to score Kenya's third try against New Zealand at USA 7s on Saturday, March 5, 2016. PHOTO/World Rugby

World Rugby has cleared Kenya to continue international competition after an independent investigation commissioned by the world body found no evidence to support allegations there was systematic doping in the sport.

The Professor Moni Wekesa led Kenya Anti-Doping Taskforce Report of 2014 identified doping within Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) prompting the world governing body to launch investigations with support of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) into the claims.

World Rugby has filed its findings with WADA, paving the way for the national rugby sevens team that in Vancouver for this weekend’s Canada 7s to take their place at the Rio 2016 Olympics where the sport will mark its debut.

“World Rugby takes all doping allegations extremely seriously and commissioned the investigation, with the full support of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), in response to the findings of the Kenya Anti-Doping Taskforce Report which alleged doping practices by coaches involved in the senior national team 15s and sevens programmes during 2013-14.

“Specifically, the Taskforce Report alleged: ‘In rugby, at the national team level and at two of the clubs there appears to be systematic doping of players through the use of food supplements laced with steroids,” a statement from Kenya Rugby Union announcing the development on Thursday read.

“The comprehensive investigation was undertaken by independent World Rugby Anti-Doping Advisory Committee member Gregor Nicholson and specifically focused on whether there was any evidence to suggest that an anti-doping rule violation had occurred.

“The investigation involved re-analysis of the supplements which were claimed to contain steroids, at a WADA accredited laboratory, and interviews with current and former Kenya Rugby Union coaches,” it added.

World Rugby investigations confirmed use of nutritional supplements by Kenya Rugby Union that do not fall under the list of proscribed substances and further found no evidence of anti-doping rules violations by the local governing body, its members of coaching staff of the national team.

Additionally, the report absolving Kenya found no substance in claims in the anti-doping report that former head coach, South African Paul Treu introduced the said supplements to player in his two years in charge of the sevens squad.

World Rugby noted the Kenya 15s and sevens squads are routinely tested in and out of completion at events sanctioned by the governing body and there was no adverse findings yet.

Kenyan players will also be tested extensively as part of the World Rugby anti-doping programme and in particular its pre-Olympic testing programme for participating unions and players.

World Rugby is also prioritising the training of more regional educators to deliver anti-doping information at regional level, with a new pilot programme to be rolled out in 2016.

The findings presented by the Prof. Wekesa led committee to Cabinet Secretary in charge of sports, Dr. Hassan Wario; in May 2014 alleged supplements with banned substances were widely used by rugby players in the country.

In a swift response former KRU chairman, Mwangi Muthee, trashed the report maintaining it was the wrong way to deal with the threat of drug abuse in the country by sportspersons.

The then Union boss further held the Probe Committee that was appointed in November 2013 following the directive by WADA for Kenya to investigate the rise in positive drug tests in athletics failed to execute its mandate.

“They failed to assist sports associations with facts from doctors and scientific laboratory operators and instead willingly or unwittingly caused their comments to be published in a very casual manner in the media,” Muthee charged at the time.

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Story By Mutwiri Mutuota
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