IAAF to set up doping testing centre in Kenya
05 December 2013, 13:13
Nairobi - The world's athletics governing body IAAF officials concluded their tour of Kenya on Thursday with a closed door meeting with the country's authorities over the proposed testing centre in Nairobi.
During the meeting with Athletics Kenya (AK) top brass and medical committee, the visiting officials discussed modalities of how the centre with the capability of testing urine and blood samples will be set up.
"The IAAF officials were here but it was not open to the press. They were not here to discuss allegations about drug use in Kenya but on how the anti-doping centre will be built and what is needed," AK President Isaiah Kiplagat told Xinhua.
"We are partnering with them as well as the government to set up the centre in Nairobi, not Eldoret as earlier proposed and I can confirm to you the project is finally underway," Kiplagat said.
"We conduct almost 700 tests on our athletes every year and we have to do this in South Africa since it is the only country in the continent with testing facilities," said the president.
"It makes a lot of sense that being the nation with most athletes, we should have a centre here that will also serve our neighbors Ethiopia who have a good number of runners as well and Uganda who are coming up very well," he added.
Besides him, AK vice-president in charge of competition and administration, David Okeyo, the CEO Isaac Mwangi and the Medical Commission led by Dr. Victor Bargoria attended the meeting.
"When we are ready with the centre, we shall inform you and the IAAF people will be here as well," Kiplagat who declined to disclose the identity and rank of the officials from the world body involved explained.
During the 2013 World Athletics Gala in Monaco, IAAF president, Lamine Diack, pledged to support Kenya and sprint giants Jamaica, to set up anti-doping facilities after the two nations came under intense World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) scrutiny.
"This is a campaign against athletics. Kenya has the most controlled (tested) runners and they have found nothing so allegations by WADA are not true," Diack said at the time.
The country came under the spotlight after 17 athletes tested positive from January 2012 although no signature runner from the nation that won five gold medals at the 2013 World Championships to top Africa have been involved yet.
Matthew Kisorio, who was busted with EPO and captained the Kenyan team for the 2011 World Cross Country in Punta Umbria, Spain, remains the most notable athlete to be nailed as a cheat within the period under review.