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Kenya anti-doping czar says drug cases 'embarrassing'

27 August 2015, 19:05

Nairobi - A leading Kenyan anti-doping investigator on Thursday accused the east African nation's athletics body of not doing enough to tackle drug cheats, calling the positive tests of two athletes in Beijing "embarrassing".

Lawyer and sports medicine specialist Moni Wekesa, who headed a government-sponsored probe into doping in Kenya and regularly calls for more stringent action, said progress had been made since he published his report but clearly not enough.

Two Kenyans, Koki Manunga and Joyce Zakary, failed pre-competition drugs tests at the ongoing world championships in Beijing and have been provisionally suspended, the IAAF announced Wednesday.

"I am happy that there has been a lot of changes after the report came out early last year. Athletics Kenya, and even the athletes accepted there was a problem," Wekesa told AFP.

"Nevertheless the message we must get out of Beijing is clear: it does good for the country when athletes continue to be exposed --- it is so embarrassing. Athletics Kenya has not done enough to educate the athletes."

Wekesa said the runners should now be put under pressure "to tell us where they got the drugs from... who are the people administering the drugs to them."

Kenya's runaway success at the world athletics championships has been punctured by the positive tests, and former Olympic 800m bronze medallist Mike Boit, now a sports professor, agreed that the news from Beijing was "very bad".

"People are not happy with the Kenyans," he said, adding that his fear was that Kenya's clean competitors would all be unfairly tarred as dope cheats.

"There is a lot of speculation which is not true," said Boit.

Kenya was rocked this year when marathon star Rita Jeptoo was banned for two years after being caught using the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO.

Jeptoo is the biggest name in Kenyan sports to have been caught, and the bust has been a major trauma for a country that idolises its medal-winning runners.

Kenyan officials were already investigating an alarming spike in doping cases in the country after more than 30 athletes failed tests in the past two years.

The championships' first doping cases follow a build-up dominated by lurid drugs allegations, with Kenya one of the countries in the firing line.

Leaked results cited by German broadcaster ARD and Britain's Sunday Times newspaper claimed that more than 800 athletes, including 18 Kenyans, had "suspicious blood test results" between 2001 and 2012.

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