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There has been much anticipation within the global athletics community about the possible suspension of Athletics Kenya by World Athletics due to doping issues.
The World Athletics Council met in Rome for two days this week and decided on a number of issues, one of them being the Kenyan doping situation. Topics discussed included: DSD Regulations and Transgender Regulations, the introduction of an official world record for the road mile, World Athletics Series updates, and a Russian Taskforce update.
For Russia, the subject will again be revisited in March 2023.
The World Athletics Council has made a number of important decisions at its 229th meeting in Rome, to round out a highly successful year for the sport and provide guidance for the coming years.— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) November 30, 2022
Kenyan doping crises
The Council discussed doping in Kenya in the context of the Athletics Integrity Unit’s (AIU) regular report. It was agreed that the Kenyan Government’s commitment to provide an additional $5 million a year for the next five years to strengthen Kenya’s anti-doping programs was an appropriate response to the situation at this time. As Kenya remains a Category A federation under the World Athletics anti-doping rules, the onus remains on Kenyan authorities to work closely with the AIU to ensure these funds are used effectively.
Coe welcomed the measures being taken to address the doping situation in Kenya, which allows Kenya to avoid the rumoured to be two-to-three-year suspension.
“I particularly welcome the additional resource made available by the Government of Kenya in this fight. The only way that we can reduce the scale of this problem is a joint commitment across all the sports stakeholders in Kenya and of course World Athletics and its Athletics integrity unit,” Coe said.
Leading up to the meeting, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba called out fellow countrymen for doping. But also all but begged not to receive a suspension.
Namwamba said that Kenya will fight valiantly against the issue in the country — which he called a “serious war against doping. We are going to criminalize doping to levels you cannot imagine. We are going to be very, very harsh.”
“Kenya is a very proud sporting nation. We pride ourselves on being world-beaters, but we beat the world playing clean. I want all of us to say “no” to doping.”
“As a government, we are going to make doping very expensive to elevate doping substances to the same level as hard drugs,” he added. “If we catch you engaged in doping, we shall punish you severely.”
Now it is incumbent up Athletics Kenya and their anti-doping authority to follow through.