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The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) and the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to ramp up doping tests on Kenyan athletes targeting 5000 tests. This is seven times the rate from 2022.

The increased testing will begin at the National Championships and the Trials for the World Athletics Championships, this summer, according to a press statement by the AIU.

The AIU and ADAK will conduct up to 390 tests at these events as well as 185, which were done during June’s National Championships (22-24 June) as well as 205 at the Trials. This is a massive increase from the total 55 tests conducted at the National Championships and Trials in 2022.

A broader variety of testing

A broader variety of testing is being undertaken. In addition to the collection of urine and blood samples, there will be Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) and EPO tests. Additionally, for the first time, Dried Blood Spot (DBS) samples taken. Ahead of this weekend’s Trials at Nyayo National Stadium, there has been significant no-notice, out-of-competition testing at athletes’ homes and training camps.

“We are aiming at up to 5,000 tests in the coming year, combining ADAK and AIU testing programs. This will be the new norm for Kenyan athletes – intensified, targeted and regular testing, both in and out of competition.

“We all know there is a major doping problem in Kenya and the government has committed to stamping it out. The AIU is working closely with ADAK, Athletics Kenya (AK) and other Kenyan authorities to implement a strong testing program to catch cheaters and deter other athletes from doing likewise,” said AIU Head of Testing Thomas Capdevielle, who is now in Kenya for the Trials.

Beyond the Trials

With the Kenyan government funding of US $5 million annually for the next five years (totalling US $25 million), the AIU will consult with the Kenyan authorities in building capacity in testing and other aspects of the country’s athletics-integrity program. This will include investigations, intelligence, education, case management and communications.

ADAK is expected to reach record levels of testing during the second half of this year. The number of athletes in the National Registered Testing Pool (who are controlled for out-of-competition testing by ADAK) will swell by nearly eightfold from 38 in 2022 to more than 300. These athletes are in addition to the 140 elite Kenyan athletes who are part of the International Registered Testing Pool. They are tested out of competition by the AIU. There will be vastly increased no-notice testing by ADAK at training camps and further in-competition testing at other events throughout the year.

“Increasing the depth of testing in a country with so much talent is vitally important, but this is more than just a numbers game. Quality counts as much as quantity, so one of our key AIU testing managers will be based in Kenya for the next two years to assist ADAK in creating an intelligence-based, world-class testing programme,” elaborated Capdevielle.

Under Rule 15 of the World Athletics’ Anti-Doping Rules (National Federation Anti-Doping Obligations), Kenya is currently listed in Category A. Being listed as Cat. A means it is among seven National Federations deemed to have the highest doping risk and is considered a threat to the overall integrity of athletics. Currently, Kenya has the highest number of doping cases among Category A National Federations. The totals of 184 Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs) since the AIU’s inception in 2017, with the highest number (44) being last year. So far in 2023, there have been 19 AAFs for Kenyan athletes. These numbers are expected to increase, given the volume of testing that will take place in the coming months.