NAIROBI, Kenya — The head of Kenya’s athletics federation said Friday the doping problem in his country is far less severe than in Russia or China.
Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat said the federation has banned or suspended 32 athletes for doping in the past five years.
“If you compare that to athletes banned by other federations like Russia and China, we are nowhere,” he said.
Athletics Kenya has done all it could to “arrest “the doping problem, Kiplagat said.
Kiplagat’s comments come as the World Anti-Doping Agency investigates allegations of systematic doping in Russia. Germany’s ARD network alleged alleged a web of doping, corruption and cover-ups in Russian athletics that implicated government-backed agencies.
Kiplagat said a Kenyan government taskforce will formulate laws to punish anyone found guilty of supplying Kenyan athletes with performance-enhancing drugs.
He said the federation plans next year to ban coaches who have worked with athletes caught doping.
Rita Jeptoo, a three-time winner of the Boston Marathon and two-time winner in Chicago, tested positive in September for the blood-boosting drug EPO. She is one of the highest profile Kenyan athletes to fail a doping test.
In 2012, ARD alleged there was widespread doping among Kenya’s outstanding distance runners, saying the blood-boosting drug EPO and other prohibited substances were easily available from pharmacies in its high-altitude training camps.
WADA said in October it would work with Kenya to set up a national anti-doping agency.
WADA President Craig Reedie said earlier this year that outside pressure may help Kenya bolster its anti-doping programs.
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.”
TOM ODULA, Associated Press