The future of Kenya in the world of athletics is presently hanging in the balance as pressure keeps mounting on it with every passing day to tackle corruption and doping issues.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is considering a ban on Kenya from track and field competition for a period of four years over corruption allegations and delays in implementing creditable anti-doping measures. To add to Kenya’s woes, leading names in athletics have called for strict action.

Dick Pound, who led the WADA independent commission report into systemic doping in Russian athletics, admitted that the doping situation in Kenya was a matter of great concern for WADA as well as every athlete in endurance events. Pound remarked it is pretty clear that Kenya has enjoyed huge success in the endurance events and it is also pretty clear there are a lot of performance enhancing drugs that are being used in Kenya. The comments of Pound follow those of the Kenyan Olympic Committee chairman, Kipchoge Keino, who said a week before that the World Anti-Doping Agency was “seriously considering” banning Kenya from track and field for four years.

Colm O’Connell, the coach of leading Kenyan 800-meter runner David Rudisha, recently said better testing and monitoring of our athletes has to be put in place immediately if Kenya wants to really move into the Olympics with a clear conscience and with global credibility. O’Connell added if this scenario is going to drag on until Rio, then of course a cloud is going to hang over Rio as well.

Two-time Olympic Champion Kip Keino suggested lifetime bans for drug cheats. Keino also issued a warning to the next generation of athletes that is in danger of being dragged into a world of doping. The Olympic star said if people are using drugs they should be banned not for four years but it should be a life ban as the message should be we don’t want you if you’re doing bad things.

A few days back, three senior officials (Isaiah Kiplagat, chairman of AK, the vice-president David Okeyo and Joseph Kinyua, its former treasurer) at Athletics Kenya (AK) were questioned by detectives over claims they pocketed about $700,000 from Nike. Okeyo denied the allegations and said they were made by a disgruntled former employee.

Russia was recently banned from athletics after Pound’s report found ‘state-supported’ doping program in Russia. The governing body of athletics, the IAAF, voted overwhelmingly to suspend Russia from the sport after it was found guilty of widespread, state-sponsored doping. The IAAF council voted 22-1 in favor of the sanction.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has already ordered a complete investigation into the alleged doping currently rife among Russian Federation athletes. Putin also added that the country should not be banned as a whole and punishments should be meted out individually. Putin commented sportsmen who don’t dope – and never have – must not answer for those who break the rules and also remarked if we find that someone must be held responsible for something of the sort that breaks the rules in place against doping, then the responsibility must be personalized – that’s the rule.

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