Kenya's London marathon hopefuls welcome new doping law

Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:58pm EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - The elite Kenyan contingent in Sunday's London marathon have welcomed the country's progress on anti-doping and said on Wednesday the public should believe they and most of their compatriots are running clean.

The Kenyan government passed a bill on Tuesday that will allow the setting up of a viable anti-doping operation in the east African country and will make the use of performance-enhancing drugs a criminal offense.

"Once the President (Uhuru Kenyatta) gives his assent that gives us the go-ahead," twice London marathon winner Wilson Kipsang told a news conference featuring the top four finishers from last year, all Kenyan.

"Nothing was being done before because there was no policy or structure but now they can proceed."

Kenyatta has said he would sign the bill to ensure that Kenya was not barred from this year's Rio Olympics.

"There is a wrong perception that all Kenyan athletes, or all athletes, are cheating. If someone is, let them be punished, but let the clean athletes run. We want to create that confidence that we are clean," added Kipsang.

Defending London marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge also welcomed the new law that finally lifted the shadow of a possible Olympic ban for the distance powerhouse that has been rocked by more than 40 positive tests in recent years.

"That's what WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) was waiting for in Kenya, so we are safe," he said.   Continued...

Athletics - 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon Preview - London - 20/4/16
Kenya's Wilson Kipsang poses ahead of the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon
Action Images via Reuters / Peter Cziborra