Kenya promises action against sports doping
DOHA, Qatar -- Kenya has a doping problem, one of the country's government ministers told The Associated Press, and it also has a plan to clean it up.
Only days after marathon runner Rita Jeptoo was exposed for a positive doping test, Kenyan sports minister Hassan Wario Arero said the country has "a very clear roadmap" to tackle the problem and will open a new anti-doping agency by the end of the year.
"The key thing here is acknowledging the problem, that there is a problem (and) although it is drip-drip, that it may become a bigger problem if you don't handle it," Wario, the cabinet secretary at the Ministry of Sports, said in an interview with the AP.
Wario blamed sports agents "who have infiltrated our camps," and also criticized the Kenyan athletics federation for being uncooperative.
Jeptoo, winner of the last two Chicago and Boston Marathons, tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test in Kenya on Sept. 25. She is one of the highest profile Kenyan athletes to fail a doping test.
In a separate interview with the AP, World Anti-Doping Agency president Craig Reedie pointed to the example of Jamaica, which bolstered its anti-doping program under outside pressure and with outside help following concerns that it wasn't sufficiently testing its world-class sprinters.
"The world will expect Kenya to do more, in the way that the world expected Jamaica to do more," Reedie said. "Jamaica have put their house in order and I hope very much that Kenya will put its house in order."
Reedie and Wario plan to hold talks on the sidelines of the Doha Goals sports forum in Qatar.
Jeptoo's case comes weeks after a Kenyan task force, formed a year ago, released a damaging report into doping in the country.
Wario said the report "was our way of saying we have nothing to hide. As a country we acknowledge the problems we have."
He pointed a finger of blame at the agents managing Kenyan athletes.
"We need now to understand who these agents are," Wario said. "There are many people who have infiltrated our camps."
Wario said the country's new anti-doping agency "will have teeth" to deal with sports federations "that do not cooperate with us," singling out Kenya's athletics federation.
"They haven't been as cooperative as we would have liked them to be," Wario said.
The minister said the government is investing $50,000 in the agency, which will get training and expertise from the anti-doping agencies of China and Norway. Samples from doping tests will still be sent to South Africa for analysis, as they are now.
"We are taking baby steps but I think we are heading in the right direction," Wario said. "We have a very clear roadmap."
Reedie said he wrote to Kenyan authorities three weeks ago "pointing out to them that this situation should not be allowed to continue."
He also noted that Kenya's report on doping appears so far to have been followed "by relatively little action."
"They have time to pull this together," Reedie said. "I would want to see speedy reaction to the report and to see progress."
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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