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Kenya faces threat of athletics ban amid doping crisis athletics news

The government remains committed to a ‘zero tolerance’ approach as it urges the world athletics governing body not to ban its athletes.

Kenya’s government is urging World Athletics not to ban the country from the sport after a series of its athletes were suspended for doping, pledging to step up its fight against the use of banned substances.

The East African country is world-renowned for its middle- and long-distance runners, who have won numerous gold medals at the Olympic Games and world championships and run record times. Kenya finished third in the athletics medal race at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The country has faced allegations of widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs for years, but the athletics powerhouse has recently been bolstered by a growing number of its runners testing positive. The country has faced allegations of widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs over the years

The Kenyan sports ministry issued a statement on Thursday acknowledging the “doping crisis” and said sports minister Ababu Namwamba had written to World Athletics president Sebastian Coe and “urged” the governing body not to ban Kenya. .

“The government is taking strong measures to protect and maintain the integrity of athletics,” the Kenyan Sports Ministry said. The Kenyan government was “viewing this as a matter of top strategic national interest”, it said.

A ban would render its athletes unable to compete globally, jeopardizing its athletes’ plans for the 2024 Olympics in Paris and badly damaging the country’s reputation in the sport.

“We will not allow unscrupulous individuals to ruin Kenya’s reputation through doping,” Namwamba said on Twitter on Friday. “We must defeat doping and its perpetrators.”

The Daily Nation newspaper reported that the government has told the governing body it has committed an annual sum of $5m over the next five years to the fight against doping.

Namwamba said there was also a commitment to “zero tolerance” towards doping.

‘criminal element’

World Athletics’ decision-making council is reportedly due to meet in Rome next week, where Kenya is likely to be discussed.

Fifty-five Kenyan athletes are currently banned and eight are provisionally suspended, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent body set up by World Athletics to combat doping in sport.

Kenya is a Category A country under World Athletics’ anti-doping rules, meaning its athletes must undergo at least three no-notice, out-of-competition urine and blood tests before major events. There are currently seven Category A countries, including Belarus, Ethiopia and Ukraine.

Kenyans caught using banned substances include 2021 Boston Marathon winner Diana Kipyoki and compatriot Betty Wilson Lempus, who was provisionally suspended last month for using triamcinolone acetonide.

In April, Joyce Chepkirui, Kenya’s 2014 Commonwealth Games and Africa’s 10,000m champion, was banned from 2019 for four years for an athlete biological passport discrepancy.

Kenya’s doping problems have been documented for at least a decade and its national anti-doping program, which was shown to be ineffective and accused of being corrupt, was given a major overhaul in 2016 when Kenya’s new The Anti-Doping Agency (ADAK) was established.

The national track federation has also been implicated in corruption related to doping.

Authorities have blamed the issues on small groups of what they refer to as “criminal elements”, mainly Kenyan runners looking to make money from selling banned performance-enhancing substances. Kenya has moved to make doping a criminal offence.

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