Amid WADA concerns, Kenya says stepping up anti-doping fight

Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:43pm EST
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NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya has increased efforts to root out doping ahead of the Rio Olympics, the Kenyan athletics federation chief said on Friday, rejecting concerns by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that it is failing to tackle drugs cheats.

Isaac Mwangi, chief executive of Athletics Kenya (AK), said a new national anti-doping agency was carrying out more drugs testing and said Kenya would soon pass its first anti-doping laws.

"Kenya is doing the best it can," Mwangi told Reuters. "For us, athletics is a national matter, it brings a lot of national pride."

On Thursday the BBC reported that Kenya had missed a deadline this week to prove to WADA that it was doing enough to combat doping and could be declared a non-compliant nation.

That could see Kenyan medal prospects banned from the August games and hurt the East African nation's running heartlands, which depend on the financial rewards earned by elite runners.

Kenyan efforts to ensure its athletes can compete in Rio include a draft anti-doping law that would hand down heavy fines and at least three years in jail, the head of a government-backed anti-doping task force told Reuters.

"The Olympics are just months away and we want to win big and win clean as we have always done," Deputy President William Ruto said at an event on the outskirts of the capital Nairobi on Friday.

"We are working hard to make sure that when our athletes win, no one points fingers and doubts their efforts," he said.

Dozens of Kenyans have failed drugs tests in the past five years and several top officials have been accused of corruption, including Mwangi.   Continued...