IAAF wants to ban us, Kenyan official says

Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:39pm EST
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By Antony Gitonga

NAIVASHA, Kenya (Reuters) - A top Kenyan athletics official said on Thursday he feared the sport's governing body was preparing to ban his country, with the summer Olympics looming, to send a message about doping and corruption.

Kenya, which topped the medals table at the 2015 world championships, has had more than 40 athletes banned for doping in the past three years, putting it in the crosshairs of the IAAF's drive to eliminate systematic cheating and corruption.

"My belief is they (the IAAF) are preparing us for a ban ... if they are able to ban Russia, what is so special about Kenya?" Athletics Kenya executive member Barnaba Korir told Reuters. "They want to send a message, a clear message, that if Kenya is banned, the world will understand how serious they are."

Sebastian Coe, president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, says he is determined to restore the sport's image after an independent report found Russia had engaged in widespread, state-sponsored doping, which Coe's predecessor Lamine Diack has been accused of covering up in return for bribes.

Coe was quoted on Thursday as saying the IAAF would not shrink from banning countries that were damaging the sport's reputation: "If it means pulling them out of world championships or Olympic Games, then we will have to do that ...

"I know the World Anti-Doping Agency has looked very closely at the Kenyan national anti-doping agency," Britain's Daily Telegraph quoted him as telling BT Sport. "We, of course, monitor that through the IAAF, so that work is ongoing."

Kiplimo Rugut, chief executive of Kenya's anti-doping agency, ADAK, which has only been operational for a few months, was more confident than Korir. "We shall have conformed to all the WADA conditions in two weeks' time and there is no need to panic," he told reporters in Naivasha.


Sebastian Coe, IAAF's President, waits for a news conference by the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) former president, Dick Pound, who heads the commission into corruption and doping in athletics, in Unterschleissheim near Munich, Germany, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Dalder