April 17, 2024

Kenya avoids athletics ban

Kenya avoids athletics ban

AIU will now help implement the plans and communicate the process and programs so as to achieve and build that trust in the long journey

Kenya has avoided being sanctioned by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) as a result of the Government of Kenya’s efforts to increase funding for anti doping activities to Ksh 619 million per annum.

Speaking at a media conference on the sidelines of the World Athletics Council meeting in Rome, Italy, World Athletics President, Seb Coe, said, “AIU will now help implement the plans and communicate the process and programs so as to achieve and build that trust in the long journey.”

During the conference, Coe said,” "I received a letter from the Sports Minister last week which I have been given permission to share with you, and in it the Government has confirmed its agreement to add a further $5million (approx. Ksh 619 million) annually over five years.”

"This will fund more people, more tests, more investigations and certainly bolster the already comprehensive education programmes in place.

"The Athletics Integrity Unit will continue to work closely with Kenya to implement the plan and help progress and achievements.

"But building back trust will be a long journey.

"I know that Athletics Kenya and the Kenyan Government feel that this has been a disfiguring period in what should have been a Herculean period for Kenyan athletics.

"But all the stakeholders that matter both domestically and internationally are now aligned to do everything we can to resolve this situation.

"I think it’s pretty clear that we have taken very seriously the escalating problem that has arisen in Kenya.

"Over the course of one year, 40 per cent of all doping positives reported involved Kenyan athletes.

"This is not something we are prepared to sit and allow to develop.

"I’m pleased to say that the Kenyan Government has taken some really serious action to try and resolve this problem as soon as possible, although my instinct is it is still a long journey.

"The letter was very important in that it was a recognition from the highest levels of Government that this was an issue that was disfiguring. 

"Kenyan athletics is not just important to the world family of athletics, it is also a very important part of the brand values of Kenya, and we needed some collective action in this case."

Kenya is one of seven "Category A" nations deemed by the AIU to have the highest doping risk and threaten the overall integrity of the sport.

At least 55 Kenyan athletes are serving bans with a further eight provisionally suspended, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit.

Diana Kipyokei and Lawrence Cherono, both former Boston Marathon winners, are among the high-profile Kenyan athletes currently banned.