WADA to meet Kenyan officials over stalled investigations
10 February 2014, 17:51
Nairobi - A team from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is in Kenya to try to speed up investigations into doping which have stalled due to lack of funds.
The WADA officials are due to meet with the Kenyan sports minister, Hassan Wario, and the members of a 12-member special taskforce that was appointed by the government last November to investigate allegations of widespread doping among Kenyan athletes.
The taskforce, which was given two months to complete the investigations and submit their report to the government, has threatened to wind up its work due to financial constraints, having conducted just 23 days of investigations.
"What we have done is very little compared to what we anticipated to do," the taskforce vice-chair, Njeri Onyango, told AFP.
"We have only interviewed three out of the nearly 30 athletes who have been suspended due to drug-related offences. We have not even done any investigations into rugby, football and volleyball which are the big Kenyan sports," she said.
"We also need to go back to the training camps in Iten and Eldoret, and also visit the random-testing centres to see the efficiency of the anti-doping measures being carried out," she added.
The commission says it has spent 4.5 million shillings ($55,000) and needed a further 18 million shillings ($208,000) to complete their investigations.
Kenya has been under pressure to act on the issue of doping since a German television investigation in 2013 alleged that banned drugs including the blood booster EPO were readily available.
Since January 2012, increased tests have netted 17 Kenyan cheats. While none of them have been big-name record breakers, the findings have contradicted previous assertions from Athletics Kenya that its runners are spotless.
The allegations have cast a shadow over Kenya, famed for its record-breaking runners who hold world records from the 800m through to the marathon and where running is a major source of national pride and, in some communities, an important source of income.