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If the World Anti-Doping Agency is seriously considering suspending Kenya from international competition, then they must consider banning Russia and if not, why not?
The legendary Kip Keino, who happens to be the chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), said that WADA is seriously considering recommending that Kenya be banned from all competitions for four years, including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Apparently the Kenyan Anti-Doping Agency (ADAK) is dragging its feet on efforts to act on Kenyan athletes who have had positive doping tests.
While he was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Lamine Diack in April of 2015 said, “Russia would not be banned from competing in international competitions” for apparent systematic doping. Since then Diack has been arrested for potentially taking bribe money in exchange for his silence on positive doping tests – specifically Russian.
Fiction cannot be more paradoxical than that.
Now it is pretty clear that WADA and the IAAF are two different organizations, but they appear to have overlapping responsibilities to do with doping in sport. If WADA is going to lobby to have Kenya banned for four years for inaction to do with doping, then WADA should be vociferously campaigning to have Russia banned for 16 years; at least starting on Monday, November 9th.
We will find out on Monday from one of the only sensible men still standing (in sport), founder and past President of WADA Mr. Dick Pound, as to exactly what he and his cohorts lawyer Richard McLaren and Gunter Younger cyber investigator, have discovered in their nine-month long investigation of the purported systematic Russian doping.
Lord Sebastian Coe has been paraded around the traditional and social media as the new savior to the sport of athletics (and we hope he truly is); a niche sport that is killing itself through doping crisis after doping crises. He said in February, 2015, “Russia must not be banned for doping.” Has he changed his opinion since? It doesn’t seem like it.
But, why just Kenya and not Russia?
On November 3rd, Coe was in Russia meeting with authorities of the All Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) Congress. He also attended their Gala and handed out awards. According to an IAAF article about Coe’s visit to Russia he said, “This has been a very productive visit to Moscow. I was able to meet and interact directly with Russian athletes, coaches and officials, and I appreciated their openness, passion for our sport and noted a real appetite for change. I also felt a very strong support for our plans to modernise athletics.”
So is there pressure to suspend Kenya because they may be dragging their feet, but not Russia because they have displayed an appetite for change? Months have passed between Coe’s declaration that Russia should not be banned and his discovering this appetite for change. There must be something more.
Depending on what Pound has uncovered, this could be a veritable David and Goliath comparison. For example when Kenyan athletes dope, they are either looking for a way out of poverty by becoming internationally competitive as individuals; it’s the Wild West in a sense, or they are involved with European coaches and agents who urge them to dope. For example, Italian Coach Claudio Berardelli had his contract terminated by his employers for having several Kenyan athletes fail doping tests. So far the coach has had at least three athletes fail tests including marathoners Mathew Kisorio Rita Jeptoo and most recently 800-metre runner Agatha Jeruto, whose received a four-year ban for the anabolic steroid agent Norandrosterone.
During 2013 Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat had given one week notice to foreign coaches that were not registered with AK, to leave the country. Renato Canova who is considered one of the most knowledgeable coaches in the world left shortly after for China. Canova has long believed that EPO does not help East Africans; however, they continue to be caught taking the banned drug. In April 2015 Kiplagat stepped down.
Russia is suspected of systematic doping, which is very different than Kenya’s behavior.
ARD Television interviewed a Russian athlete who said that between 90 and 99% of Russian athletes dope.
But why the motivation to ban Kenya and not Russia? Could it really be about money?
WADA receives matching funds from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who match what the nations contribute. They are invoiced based on their ability to pay.
According to WADA’s published 2015 budget, they invoiced out $13,742,414. They received $13,410,766 and for whatever reason the match from the IOC wasn’t exact, they contributed $12, 368,172. That’s a total of $25,778,938. Whatever “Montreal International” is, they tossed in a further $1,072,816 for a grand total of $26,851,754.
Kenya was invoiced just $2996.00. The column indicating what they paid shows nothing, not any zeros, just blank space. Does it even matter?
Russia was invoiced $745,875 and paid $745,875. At the bottom of the document there appears to be an “annual donation” for $339,417 from them. That $1,085,292 total sum is nearly 10% of the total national contributions. Double the total and that is a a fair sum of money to walk away from, but is that really enough to warrant denial?
Interestingly it was Hajo Seppelt at ARD Television who first discovered the open access to drugs on the streets of Kenya when he posed undercover as a sports agent; we broke the English language version of the story here in an interview with Seppelt. He was also heavily involved in the making of the documentary, How Russia Makes Champions.
It is unlikely that it cost 26-million dollars to shoot the documentaries about doping in Kenya and Russia.
Perhaps the de facto Anti-Doping Agency, ARDTV will uncover the reason why WADA would lobby to have Kenya suspended and not Russia. We will find out more on Monday, the 9th of November.