Kenya seeks two more months to meet anti-doping demands

Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:51am EST
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By George Obulutsa

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya wants two more months to show the global anti-doping agency it has cleaned up its athletics, hoping to avoid the risk of being barred from this year's Olympic Games, its sports minister said on Friday.

Kenya, a world beater in long-distance running, missed a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) deadline last week to implement new regulations in a country where some 40 athletes have been banned for doping in the last three years.

Sports Minister Hassan Wario said he was confident WADA would agree a two-month extension to enable Kenya to pass legislation and launch a fully operational anti-doping agency.

"Have we had anything from WADA? We haven't. But normally there is a window of two months' extension, which we hope to capitalize on once we get it," Wario told a news conference in Nairobi.

A top Kenyan athletics official said on Thursday that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), itself under pressure to get tougher on doping, was planning to ban Kenya from the Rio Games so "the world will understand how serious they are".

The IAAF could enact a ban if WADA declared Kenya Non-compliant with its rules.

WADA spokesman Ben Nichols said the organization's Independent Compliance Review Committee was due to make recommendations on Kenya in the coming days.

“We can’t confirm a timeline yet,” he said.   Continued...

Athletes sprint during a training session on a dirt track in the town of Iten in western Kenya, November 13, 2015. Picture taken November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola