Kenya hopeful of dodging WADA sanctions

Doping control (Getty Images)
Doping control (Getty Images)

Nairobi - Kenyan sports officials are optimistic the country will be granted more time to pass a robust anti-doping law and avoid a threatened Olympics ban.

A World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) deadline to tighten its anti-doping law and provide funding for a proposed anti-doping agency expired Tuesday with lawmakers having failed to pass a bill criminalising sports doping.

The bill is intended to save Kenyan athletes from an Olympics ban threatened by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe.

"We have submitted all our documents to WADA as required," sports minister Hassan Wario said Tuesday.

"Compliance required a raft of factors -- about four key factors -- with legalisation being a part of that," he told the local Citizen TV channel.

Wario said Kenya had fulfilled its requirements and he did not expect it to be declared non-compliant when the WADA board meets in Montreal, Canada, on May 12.

"We are also in contact with key heads of IAAF and WADA especially on the yet to be finalised anti-doping bill. So far we remain optimistic," Wario said.

Sports ministry official Gordon Oluoch said the government would be seeking a further extension from WADA after missing Tuesday's deadline and a previous one in February.

"They know that we have had a delay because of the law-making process, and they will give us the necessary time for parliament to discuss the bill before it is made into law," Oluoch said.

Kenya's Olympic chief Kipchoge Keino welcomed the move to seek more time and said he would travel to Lausanne, Switzerland, on Tuesday to meet with International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials over the matter.

WADA and IAAF have warned that Kenyan athletes will be banned from the Rio 2016 Olympics if the east African nation is declared non-compliant.

Keino said he would press the IOC to also ask WADA to give Kenya more time.

"We have to accept that it has taken us too long to pass the anti-doping laws, and therefore it was our own mistake and we cannot blame WADA or the IOC," said Keino. "But we have to act now since Kenya cannot afford to miss competing in the Olympics in Rio."

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