WADA pronounces Kenya non-compliant

The World Anti-Doping Agency has found Kenya to be non-compliant with the WADA Code on Thursday, saying changes needed to be made to legislation recently enacted by the African nation.

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.

“There are sufficiently major changes (in the new legislation) that they wouldn’t be operating under the same rules as everybody else so we need to get it right,” WADA President Craig Reedie said.

WADA’s compliance review committee had recommended Kenya be found in non-compliance and the WADA Foundation Board agreed.

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 parliamentary 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 given 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 said “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.”

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.

REU/Aisha JM