Kenya, the powerhouse of athletics, is all set to avoid sanctions by the World Anti-Doping Agency after its parliament finally passed a law that criminalized doping.

The anti-doping law protects the health of athletes and puts coordinated and effective mechanisms for detecting, deterring, and preventing the use of prohibited substances or prohibited material in competitive or recreational sport.

Kenyan sports minister Hassan Wario said President Kenyatta was expected to sign off on the doping legislation by the end of this week. It was announced by Kenyan sports minister that the anti-doping bill had been approved by lawmakers and now only needs to be signed by the president to be adopted as law. Previously, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has said he will sign the anti-doping legislation and he would personally drive the bull through parliament with the sports reputation of the country on the line.

It was confirmed on Tuesday by Presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu that the president would approve the law. Once the assent has been provided for the bill by the President, the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya would be created as a corporate body for promoting sports that are free from prohibited substances or methods and intended for artificially improving performance and developing a national strategy to address doping in sport. The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya will then work independently to ensure implementation of various guidelines and international standards in matters related to anti-doping.

Parliamentarians of Kenya previously failed to comply with the April 5 deadline to pass the Anti-doping bill. Kenya thereafter applied for an extension that was granted until May 2. Passing the anti-doping law is one of the things Kenya requires to have in place by a final deadline of May 2. Failure to done it would have cost the African country being declared as non-compliant with WADA’s global code. The new law calls for prison sentences in some cases where athlete or others are found guilty of providing or using performance enhancing drugs.

Kenya was also asked by the World Anti-Doping Agency to strengthen its overall anti-doping program after a surge in positive tests was noticed. The country was also asked to establish and properly fund a national anti-doping agency. In the past, the East African country that is home to the top distance runners of the world found troubles in getting the anti-doping bill passed.

Kenyan athletics has been the victim of many doping cases, allegations of cover-ups and extortion by top track federation officials. Since London Olympics, forty Kenyans have been banned for doping.

Few days back, the compliance committee of WADA said it would recommend to the agency’s board to declare Kenya non-compliant if the improvements were not made by May 2.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe recently remarked the world governing body of athletics would be ready to ban Kenyan athletes from international competitions if the East African country consistently failed to comply with WADA regulations. A ban could have likely put athletes of Kenya, including prominent stars like 800-meter Olympic champion David Rudisha, out of the Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Doping Law Passed By Kenya Parliament

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