Summer Sports

Kenya in doubt for Rio Olympics after breaking anti-doping rules

World Anti-Doping Agency officials declared Kenya's drug-fighting agency out of compliance Thursday, a move that places the track powerhouse's participation in this summer's Rio Olympics in jeopardy.

WADA says country's anti-doping agency is non-compliant

David Rudisha's future participation at the Olympics might be in jeopardy after the World Anti-Doping Agency declared Kenya's drug-fighting agency out of compliance Thursday. The move comes less than a month after the country's president signed legislation that criminalizes doping. The law was expected to put Kenya's new anti-doping agency in the clear. (Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press/File)

World Anti-Doping Agency officials declared Kenya's drug-fighting agency out of compliance Thursday, a move that places the track powerhouse's participation in this summer's Rio Olympics in jeopardy.

The move comes less than a month after the country's president signed legislation that criminalizes doping. The law was expected to put Kenya's new anti-doping agency in the clear.

But Rene Bouchard, the chair of WADA's compliance review committee, said the new law does not meet all the requirements WADA asked for and recommended that WADA's foundation board declare the anti-doping agency out of compliance. When WADA president Craig Reedie asked the board to approve the recommendation, nobody dissented.

As in all cases of non-compliance, WADA will now hand the decision over to its stakeholders, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UNESCO for their consideration and action.

Angry reaction flowed out of Kenya.

"WADA are killing the sport," said Kenyan marathoner Wesley Korir, who serves in the country's parliament. "Are we making the laws for WADA or for Kenyans? We need to find the communication between the ministry and WADA."

Kenya's Olympic committee chairman Kip Keino was shocked. "We are working, everything is done, all that they have asked for."

Similar ruling

WADA made a similar ruling with Russia's anti-doping agency in November. Just as it does on Russia's track team, the sport's governing body, the IAAF, has final say on whether Kenya remains eligible for international competition, including the Olympics.

Joseph de Pencier, the CEO of the Institute of National Anti-Doping Agencies, called the suspension of Kenya's agency "a promising move" by WADA.

"Kenya is a country that continues to perform at a very high level without a seemingly competent [anti-doping] national program," he said.

Kenya has been expanding its dominance in long-distance running to the extent that it tied Jamaica for the most gold medals at last year's world championships, with seven.

"A consequence of noncompliance has to mean you can't compete internationally," de Pencier said. "That's what will get action." 

But corralling Kenya's doping issue is a problem that extends beyond its borders. Since the London Games, 40 Kenyans have tested positive for doping — most of whom have tested positive outside the country.

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