Kenya to investigate doping allegations

The Kenyan government is all set to announce details of a new committee for investigating allegations of doping by some of the country’s top athletes. Concerns about doping in Jamaica and Kenya are expected to be hot topics discussed at the World Conference on Doping in Sport that starts on November 12.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has putting pressure on the Kenyan government to perform an internal investigation following the suspension of 17 athletes for drugs since January 2012. A few weeks back, Rodney Swigelaar, director of WADA’s Africa office, admitted WADA was very frustrated by the slow progress.

Swigelaar said it’s more than a year now since we went there in October and even longer since the rumors started to spread and added we have not been informed that this task team is in place. Swigelaar added WADA’s responsibility to ensure these matters are dealt with and said the first move would be to report the country for non-compliance of the WADA code, if Kenya failed to carry out a proper probe. He went on to say that we are still hoping that the Kenyans will stay true to their word, implement the investigation and tell the world whatever they were able to uncover. The director of WADA’s Africa office also remarked if their athletes are clean and there’s no problem, then that’s fine and then if there is a problem, let’s see how we can work together.

However, Hussein Wario, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Art and Culture, claimed that they had been taking quick steps to meet WADA’s criteria. He added that forming such a committee is not an easy undertaking and added we needed time to identify people to seat in the committee and as well make sure they are the right people.

The most high-profile athlete from the country to test positive is Mathew Kisorio, long-distance runner who competes in road running and cross country running competitions, who was placed fourth at the 2011 International Association of Athletics Federations World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbría, Spain. The Kenya captain to the 2011 World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria was banned for two years after steroids were found in his system at last year’s National Championships. A former African junior champion in the 5,000m and 10,000m, Kisorio claimed that doping was widespread in the country. The athlete provided a long and detailed description of his regime of blood doping and anabolic steroids. Kisorio blamed medical staff behind the system and claimed that many fellow Kenyans were using illegal performance enhancing drugs and procedures.

David Okeyo, Secretary General of Athletics Kenya, responding to allegations by the athlete, said the confession by Kisorio was to portray a negative picture of Kenyan athletes and we refuse to buy that negativity and pay tribute to our athletes who have done us proud.

Isaiah Kiplagat, President of Athletics Kenya, denied that the country has a huge problem and said he can assure everyone that the Government commission will start its work soon. He added that all top athletes of the country were tested before London [2012] and then again before the World Championships in Moscow this year.

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