Kenya on the spot over handling of doping cases in athletics
By Omulo Okoth
| October 15th 2014
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Kenya risks international sporting sanctions if action is not taken on doping abuse in line with recommendations made by a task force that investigated the scourge.
According to National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) Chairman, Dr Kipchoge Keino, global anti-doping chiefs are not happy with what they are seeing as Kenya's apparent ambivalence on doping abuse.
Dr Keino met officials from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Japan last weekend and "they expressed disappointment with Kenya's handling of doping." They were in Tokyo to inaugurate the Olympic venues for 2020 Games. Keino ran in Tokyo when the Japanese city hosted the Olympiad in 1964.
Over 30 Kenyans have tested positive to doping substances in the past two years, a statistic that has alarmed world doping chiefs and the Government alike, who set up a task force under the chairmanship of Prof Moni Wekesa last year.
"They are asking what steps has the Government taken since the task force submitted their report. They are saying Jamaica, who was cited alongside Kenya has made decisive steps in tackling the scourge, but no news is coming from Kenya," he said.
"They are not happy and are contemplating sanctions if Kenya does not act decisively. You know what that means. They can even ban Kenya from international competitions, which would be terrible to our sportsmen and women," said Dr Keino.
He lamented that Kenya Government does not apply for funding from Unesco anti-doping programme as part of the effort to tackle doping.
We were unable to reach the Cabinet Secretary for Sport, Arts and Culture, Dr Hassan Wario. But Commissioner for Sports, Gordon Oluoch, said the Government has outlined steps they want to take to tackle the scourge in line with the Moni Wekesa-led task force.
"You should reach the Cabinet Secretary because he has more details on this matter. But what I can tell you is the Government will send a very strong delegation to Cape Town next week for a tripartite partnership with Anti-Doping Norway and CHINADA (Chinese National Anti-Doping Agency) in collaboration with WADA and WADA Africa Regional Office," said Oluoch.
"That shows that we are serious with doping matters otherwise we would not be sending a team to the conference. We are taking doping matters very seriously and we shall take very decisive action on recommendations made by the task force," he said.
"They are wondering why the Government has not taken action on the report by the committee which investigated cases of doping in the country," Keino told FeverPitch yesterday.
Prof Moni Wekesa led the team that investigated cases of doping that afflicted Kenyan sports in the past few years and made far-reaching recommendations to the Government. His report indicted federations who did not co-operate with the task force and recommended that action be taken against them.
Among the top athletes who were banned for doping abuse included Mathew Kisorio, who has completed his two year ban and is back in competition.
Salome Jerono Biwott, who won the women's title at the Standard Chartered Nairobi International Marathon last year in 2:26:41, and Jynocel Basweti Onyancha, who ran in the 23rd Marathon International De Cullacan in Mexico on Jan. 22, are serving suspensions of two years each for doping offences. Biwott was sanctioned with effect from January 25, 2013 until January 25, 2015.
On February 23 2013, AK confirmed three other runners had been sanctioned for doping offenses. Wilson Erupe Loyanae and Nixon Kiplagat Cherutich are serving a suspension of two years each with Moses Kiptoo Kurgat sanctioned for a year after both A and B samples returned positive results for proscribed substance abuse. Erupe tested positive for EPO, or erythropoietin, in an out-of- competition test conducted in 2012, the first Kenyan athlete to be caught using the banned drug hormone, which increases the red blood cell count. Kiplagat tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone, after competing in a race in Mexico. Francis Kibiwott, who represented Kenya at the 2007 World Half Marathon in Udine, Italy, finishing 45th, was pardoned after his case was positively reviewed by the medical commission of world body, IAAF.
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