WADA chief Reedie confident Kenya will comply

Wed Mar 9, 2016 12:33pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - WADA president Craig Reedie would be surprised if Kenyan athletes were missing from this year's Olympic Games, saying it would be a blow to the African nation's pride.

Kenya, one of the most successful countries in middle and long-distance running, has until April 5 to bring its anti-doping structure in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency's requirements or face having its top athletes barred from competing in Rio.

It has already missed a February deadline.

"I would be very surprised that Kenyan politicians didn't do everything they could to make sure their wonderful athletes do make it to the Olympics Games," Reedie told reporters on Wednesday.

"It's the pride of the country in many ways."

Reedie said it had been a frustrating process trying to make Kenya, 40 of whose athletes have been banned for doping in the last three years, become WADA compliant.

"I saw the Kenyan sports minister looking at the developing Qatar (anti-doping) lab two years ago and he promised me there would be the national anti-doping lab would be up and running in 14 months. Here we are two years later," he said.

Dick Pound, chair of the investigation that led to an ongoing ban for Russian track and field athletes from Rio, was cautiously optimistic that Kenya would not find itself in the same boat as the European powerhouse.   Continued...

Newly elected World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Craig Reedie gestures during the 2013 World Conference on Doping in Sports in Johannesburg November 15, 2013.  REUTERS/Stringer