Kenyan athletes to endure more anti-doping tests on return to competition

Friday, May 29th, 2020 00:00 |
Head of Athletics Integrity Unit Brett Clothier (left), ADAK CEO Jahpher Rugut (centre) and WADA Director of Intelligence Gudthern Younger in Nairobi last year. Photo/PD/ALEX NJUE

Nairobi, Thursday

Kenyan athletes should brace for more anti-doping tests as the government plans to lift the ban on movements, which had been imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has sounded a warning that they have fallen behind schedule in conducting anti-doping tests globally, and they will be picking up pace once normalcy resumes. 

From a webinar with some athletes, WADA conceded the COVID-19 pandemic may have led to reduced confidence in the anti-doping process.

However, it was monitoring closely where levels of testing have been reduced altogether due to COVID-19. 

“WADA is monitoring closely where levels of testing have been reduced altogether and is in close communication with ADOs to work together to find the best ways to be effective during this period,” WADA said in the document.

Kenya, which is polled in category A of countries with athletes likely to cheat, must endure each person to three out-of-competition tests prior to the Olympics and the World Championships.

Other countries are Ethiopia, Nigeria, Morocco, Ukraine, Bahrain and Belarus. 

Waithaka Kioni, Chief de Mission of Kenya team to Tokyo Games acknowledged that prior to postponement of the Olympics, the country was lagging behind in the testing program. 

“We were worried about the late disbursement of funds by the government to run tests on samples taken from athletes.

But the postponement of the Olympics has given us ample time to do it and we will attain our goal,” said Kioni.

However, WADA has insisted it has other weapons in its armory to catch cheats as it acknowledged that testing had ground to a near complete halt owing to the global health crisis.

 Kenya has set aside 7.5 million shillings (about 71,000 U.S. dollars) for the testing of its Olympic Games team. 

WADA has advised anti-doping organizations in countries where lockdown conditions will not be lifted soon to “test only in the most appropriate scenarios.” -Xinhua

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