Kenya can still take part in Rio Games

MONTREAL • Kenyan athletes will be able to participate in August's Rio de Janeiro Olympics, despite a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) ruling at a meeting in Montreal on Thursday that the African nation's drug-testing body had breached international rules.

The Wada declaration of non-compliance had placed a question mark over the participation of Kenya's middle- and long-distance runners in Rio.

However the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), track and field's governing body, said in a statement yesterday that, despite Kenya remaining on a "monitoring list" of countries with doping problems until the end of the year, Kenyan athletes remain eligible to compete nationally and internationally.

Kenyans athletes could now be barred from the Rio Games only if the International Olympic Committee steps in, although that is considered unlikely.

The IAAF pointed out that Kenya's elite athletes are the most tested of any country.

Since Oct 1, 621 tests have been carried out by the IAAF on Kenyan athletes - 279 in-competition and 342 out of competition.

  • 40

  •  Up to 40 Kenyan athletes have failed doping tests since 2012.

Still, Kenya could face more serious sanctions if its anti-doping programme is not significantly strengthened by the end of the current year.

Its athletes won two golds, four silvers and five bronzes 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, who is now serving a ban.

Earlier yesterday, fearing an Olympic ban, Kenyan officials scrambled to work out what had gone wrong.

Sports Minister Hassan Wario said Wada had written to him and "attached the areas of the act which they want to be rewritten or rectified for us to regain full compliance as soon as possible".

He added: "As soon as parliament reviews those highlighted bits of the legislation, we are fully compliant.

"No ban was mentioned in the body of the letter."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2016, with the headline 'Kenya can still take part in Rio Games'. Print Edition | Subscribe