IAAF president defends Kenya, Jamaica over 'ridiculous' WADA campaigns

By evelyn watta
Nov 17, 2013
  • IAAF President Lamine Diack.

MONACO - IAAF President Lamine Diack has strongly defended his sport against a wave of attacks from the World Anti-doping Agency, wada and the ‘ridiculous’ campaign against track giants Kenya and Jamaica.

Just hours before he presented the Male and Female Athlete of the year award to the Jamaican pair of Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in Monaco, Diack claimed there has been unwarranted focus on track and field yet it is one of the sporting discipline that was leading the fight against doping.

“I read in the newspaper all the time about Jamaica, Kenya…WADA making statements. Jamaica now is in the position to conduct its own doping tests,”Diack said, clearly irritated by the attention on the sprint and long distance giants.

“So after Jamaica it was Kenya. Kenya! Kenya!because one doctor said they are dopers,” he continued in reference to a German Television report which aired last year that claimed that there was widespread doping amongst the country’s renowned distance runners.

“They are the most tested countries in the world! All this is ridiculous. It is like WADA is making a campaign trying to make a statement. They went to Jamaica what did they find? Nothing!” added Diack responding to a statement by the former Wada president John Fahey criticizing Jamaica and Kenya's commitment to fighting drug cheats in the wake of a string of failed tests in the two countries.

“They have found and suspended some athletes which is positive and a good move. We must stop all these. We are doing our best in athletics. You rarely hear of four-year suspensions in football but they have doping concerns too, ”said Diack.

Jamaica's drugs testing concerns were raised after the country's former anti-doping commission executive director Renee Anne Shirley said the agency had conducted only one out-of-competition test in the run up to the Olympic Games in London.

Just before the world championships in Moscow last August six Jamaicans including Asafa Powell, three-time Olympic gold winner Veronica Campbell-Brown were suspended for doping.

Over the last one-year 17 Kenyans returned positive tests, which heightened concerns that the country needs to step up its anti-doping efforts.

Athletics Kenya President Isaiah Kiplagat was pleased with Diack's steely stand.

"That is true. We have done so much to ensure our athletes are clean and all these negative talk is not helping us much. We need to move past this,"Kiplagat who attended the World Athletics gala told Sportsnewsarena.com in Monaco.

Bolt doping row costing me money!

The dope talk also rubbed off on Bolt who claimed that there could be a possible backlash from sponsors following reports that the country could be barred from the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“It is a problem because a sponsor came up to me and an agency advised them that they should not work with me. There is a lot of things going on with this drug thing that I feel needs to be corrected and clarified because it is causing a lot of problems for me and my sport. We need to get everything sorted up because for me its really costing me money now and am not too happy about it,” said Bolt who however said he would not back his compatriot Shelly-Ann’s calls to go on strike if the Jamaican Athletics Federation does not do more to counter the doping claims.

“This is my job so I can’t really strike. Shelly-Ann you are on your own with that,” Bolt said in reference to calls Fraser-Pryce’s threats to boycott major championships if the Jamaican federation does move in to quell the allegations and take better care of its international athletes.