14 May 2016

Kenya scrambling to Rio

6:29 pm on 14 May 2016

Kenya has requested an urgent meeting with the World Anti-Doping Agency to resolve the body's concerns after the East African nation was judged non-compliant with WADA's code and put at risk of missing the Rio Olympics.

Kenya passed an act of parliament in April to criminalise doping, but WADA said on Thursday it needed to make changes to ensure compliance with the code, which sets a framework for consistent rules and policies around the world.

World 3000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi could be among Kenyan athletes withdrawing from the Rio Olympics.

World 3000m steeplechase champion Hyvin Kiyeng Jepkemoi could be among Kenyan athletes withdrawing from the Rio Olympics. Photo: Photosport

The WADA ruling meant Kenya, for decades a leading power in middle- and long-distance running, could be in danger of exclusion from the Aug. 5-21 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The International Association of Athletics Federations said WADA's action "is a further reflection of the IAAF's concerns about the level of commitment to anti-doping at the national level in Kenya."

The IAAF, which in November suspended Russia from international athletics because of widespread drug cheating, said Kenyan athletes were still eligible to compete nationally and internationally. It said Kenya's participation in Rio was in the hands of the International Olympic Committee.

"Kenya has sought an urgent meeting with WADA to review the main areas of concern and to secure a review of its decision," Sports Minister Hassan Wario told a news conference. "Kenya will work with WADA to settle the concerns it has raised."

Kenyan officials could travel to WADA's Canadian headquarters at the weekend, he said, repeating Kenya's commitment to ensuring its sports men and women were clean.

In an earlier statement, the minister had said WADA had outlined "areas of the act which they want to be rewritten or rectified for us to regain full compliance as soon as possible." He did not provide details when asked at the news conference.

Kenyan athletes won two gold medals, four silvers and five bronze at the last Olympics in London.


Up to 40 Kenyan athletes have failed doping tests since 2012, the biggest name among them being former three-time Boston City Marathon and Chicago Marathon champion, Rita Jeptoo, now serving a ban.

WADA had given Kenya until May to enact the anti-doping law or be declared non-compliant. The president signed the new legislation into law on April 22.

But WADA President Craig Reedie said on Thursday that it was not in line with the organisation's requirements.

"We have been working with Kenya for a number of years and thought we had agreed that the draft legislation and rules were entirely compliant, and it would appear that during their parliamentary process changes were made that unfortunately weren't code-compliant, so we will be in touch with Kenya to try and resolve that at the earliest possible moment," he said.

Kenyan running great Kipchoge Keino, who is chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, called WADA's move "very unfortunate" but said his government had not acted quickly enough against doping.