MONTREAL, (Reuters) – The World Anti-Doping Agency’s compliance review committee unanimously recommended yesterday that Kenya be found in non-compliance with the WADA Code with immediate effect.
The surprise move could lead to Kenyan athletes missing August’s Rio Olympics if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) so deems. Only the IOC can ban a sport or country from the Olympics.
According to WADA, the compliance review committee cited issues with Kenya’s new legislation which it says is not in line with the WADA code.
“They are sufficiently major changes that they wouldn’t be operating under the same rules as everybody else so we need to get it right,” WADA president Craig Reedie told Reuters.
Under the WADA Code, non-compliant countries and sporting federations risk being prohibited from holding international events.
Kenya’s parliament had passed, and its president signed, a law last month that will criminalise doping.
Many thought that would satisfy WADA’s threat to sanction the African nation famous for its middle and long-distance runners.
But Reedie said the legislation was not code compliant.
“We have been working with Kenya for a number of years and thought we had agreed that the draft legislation and rules were entirely compliant and it would appear that during their parlimentary process changes were made that unfortunately weren’t code compliant so we will be in touch with Kenya to try and resolve that at the earliest possible moment.”
WADA had give Kenya until May to enact the law or be declared non-compliant.
Kenyan running great Kipchoge Keino, who is chairman of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), described WADA’s move as “very unfortunate” but also said that his government had not acted quickly enough in the crusade against doping.
“I can’t understand why this has happened,” Keino told Reuters by telephone. “Could be because of missing the two deadlines. But very unfortunate indeed. Government dragged its feet a lot in tackling doping. I cannot blame WADA.”
Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario told Reuters he was awaiting official communication before commenting on the decision.
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, now serving a ban.