Road To The Olympic Games


Kenyan athletes in limbo as WADA deadline nears

Olympic 800-metre champion just one of the Kenyan athletes caught in the cross-fire as government has yet to comply with anti-doping rules.

Lack of doping legislation could mean exclusion from international competition

Kenya's David Rudisha, the Olympic and world champion in the 800 metres, fears international penalties if his government doesn't meet a Tuesday deadline imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency to pass anti-doping legislation. (Andy Lyons/Getty)

David Rudisha fears his hard work preparing for this year's Olympics will go "down the drain" with Kenya expected to miss another World Anti-Doping Agency deadline, moving it a step closer to being declared non-compliant with global rules.

That might lead to the IAAF, track and field's governing body, considering a sterner punishment for Kenya.

"We (athletes) are training hard and it is a pity if all this will go down the drain if Kenya is banned from the sport," Rudisha, the Olympic champion and world record-holder in the 800 metres, told Kenya's Citizen news website on Friday.

Under scrutiny after four years of doping scandals — and seemingly little action from authorities — Kenya is unlikely to be able to pass a new anti-doping law required by WADA by Tuesday's deadline.

Rudisha criticized Kenya's government for failing to do the work to get the country's anti-doping program up to scratch.

"We were given enough time to do all these things. I don't understand why these people are not treating the matter with a lot of seriousness. It's really unfortunate because the ball was thrown to them — the government and the (sports) ministry," Rudisha said.

40 Kenyan athletes banned since 2012

Kenya's parliament went on a month-long recess Thursday without passing the anti-doping law, meaning it likely won't be in place when WADA's compliance review committee meets about Kenya next week. Kenya was already given that new deadline after missing a Feb. 11 date to pass legislation and properly set up and fund its new anti-doping agency.

Kenya has major doping problems, with 40 athletes banned since the 2012 London Olympics and four senior track and field officials under investigation by the IAAF for what the global body said was possible subversion of the anti-doping process.

Those cases, the missed WADA deadline, and new revelations by The Associated Press that some Kenyan runners have been competing in international races while banned for doping could combine to convince the IAAF to suspend Kenya, as it did with Russia.

With the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro just four months away, Kenya was seeking another extension to the April 5 deadline, a government official said Friday, after briefing WADA on efforts to pass the anti-doping bill into law.

However, WADA has reiterated that its timeline remains unchanged: The independent compliance review committee will meet Tuesday and make a recommendation to WADA's board at its May 12 meeting in Montreal. WADA's board will then make the final decision over whether to declare Kenya non-compliant.

"It's a shame. We had time on our side and it now depends on what WADA will decide," Rudisha said.

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