April 7, 2016 / 10:47 AM / in 2 years

WADA gives Kenya another month's grace

President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Craig Reedie gestures during an interview with Reuters at the WADA symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland, March 14, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya has been given a one-month extension to comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency code and thereby avoid future sanctions, WADA said on Thursday.

The African nation, famed for its distance runners but tarnished by around 40 doping cases in recent years, missed a February deadline to establish a legal framework for its Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK).

WADA’s Compliance Review Committee met again this week to discuss Kenya’s progress but again found that a parliamentary anti-doping bill had still not been formally adopted.

“Unless the bill, policy and ADAK rules are formally adopted by 2 May 2016, the Compliance Review Committee’s recommendation to the WADA Foundation Board will be to declare the ADAK non-compliant,” WADA said in a statement.

While non-compliance could, in the worst case scenario, stop Kenyan athletes competing at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, an ADAK source told Reuters the situation would be resolved.

“We are proceeding to Mombasa to consult with the Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Sports so that when the bill comes for a second reading ... we will be on the same page,” said the source who declined to be identified.

“We have no doubt things will be fine.”

MAY DATE

Kenya was given a deadline to enact the law or be declared non-compliant, which brings WADA sanctions, but parliament went into recess earlier this month and the bill could not become law before time ran out on April 5.

The governing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said last month it was highly unlikely Kenya would be suspended from the Olympics.

WADA is due to issue its decision on Kenya’s case at a board meeting on May 12.

Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday that the bill could not be fast-tracked to beat the deadline but he was certain his nation’s athletes would compete at the Olympics.

“The country is committed and what we are telling them (WADA) is ... let our processes go through,” Kenyatta told France 24 in an interview.

“I‘m confident Kenya will participate at the Olympics and win more gold ... the problem would have been if there was lack of commitment in terms on enacting. That commitment is there at the National Assembly.”

The country’s Sports Cabinet Secretary Dr Hassan Wario told the BBC the Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Sports would meet in Mombasa on Friday to pour over the bill before it went for its second and third readings.

Editing by Tony Jimenez

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