– The Kenyan government is making the latest efforts to prevent a possible international ban on athletics on Friday due to the increase in doping cases that will see the country miss out on, among others, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and World Athletics will meet in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on Friday to review the state of doping around the world with the deteriorating doping situation in Kenya as priority on the agenda. .
Kenya has been listed in Category A (nations with the highest doping prevalence) for the last five years.
So far in 2022, 45 athletes have been sanctioned for anti-doping rule violations by the AIU and the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK), with another 20 cases under review in the worst year for sport since the crisis began. intensified in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.
On Thursday, the country’s Cabinet Secretary for Sport, Ababu Namwamba, said the government was taking strict measures to protect and uphold the integrity of athletics and sports in general.
“We cannot allow our nation to be banned due to the actions of some greedy and unethical individuals. We will decisively target and deal with criminals and their syndicates. We must work together to eradicate doping and cheating in athletics and sports in overall,” Namwamba said. he said in the statement issued in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Wednesday.
The minister wrote to World Athletics Chairman Sebastian Coe pledging that the government will invest more in the anti-doping effort with the local outlet, the Daily Nation, reporting an amount of US$5 million each year for the next five years.
However, local sports administrators who have spoken out to maintain the commitment and efforts have come too late to save the country from the looming suspension.
“We will probably face a three-year suspension and strict conditions to follow before being reinstated because we have not taken this issue seriously despite all the warnings we have been given,” an anonymous official said on Thursday.
“Authorities are angry that our athletes continue to get caught cheating because we are not doing enough to stop those who supply, sell or traffic these drugs which are generally strictly controlled substances,” he added.
In addition to cracking down on the suppliers and dealers of the banned substances, WADA, AIU, World Athletics, ADAK and Athletics Kenya have called on the government to prosecute people accused of running what has become a black industry.
A local athletics official said they have submitted names and evidence of foreigners and locals doing this to the authorities and shared all the intelligence, but nothing is being done.
“ADAK and AK have no powers to arrest or charge, issue passports, work permits, residence permits or visas to these people who come to this country to dope our athletes,” the official said by phone.
Should Kenya be banned on Friday, those familiar with the matter expect World Athletics to announce that the country’s athletes will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag at international events subject to current clearance protocols. ■