Coe says Kenya not in danger of missing Rio as WADA cautions on two draft bills

By evelyn watta
Mar 11, 2021
  • IAAF president Sebastian Coe.(Photo: Philippe Fitte / IAAF)

  • Wesley Korir(right) at a past press conference. (Photo:SNA File)

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says there are no sanctions planned for now that could lock out Kenya and Ethiopia from the Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro.

Coe’s assurance came at the close of the two day IAAF council meeting in Monaco on Friday, but added that Kenya was among five countries in ‘critical care’ when it comes to national anti-doping programmes.

“There are no sanctions envision for time being against Kenya and Ethiopia,” the IAAF president told reporters. Coe gave a one-word answer ‘No’ when asked if there was any danger of the countries missing the August games, a respite of sorts for Kenya, rattled by the stern warning from the IAAF boss three weeks ago.

Speaking after Kenya missed a deadline set by the World Anti Doping Agency, WADA, to demonstrate that the Government was doing enough to combat doping, Coe had warned that IAAF would ban the track and field team from Rio if the federation is declared non compliant.

But Kenya is not off the hook yet, as the IAAF said it is implementing an action plan to monitor compliance to its rule 30.6 with respect to the federations of Ethiopia, Morocco, Belarus, Kenya and Ukraine.

Kenya in critical care 

“Morocco and Ethiopia both need to appoint an anti-doping coordinator and, as a matter of urgency, establish a national testing programme. Belarus, Kenya and Ukraine have been put on an IAAF monitoring list for 2016 to ensure their national anti-doping programmes are significantly strengthened to ensure their journey to compliance to Rule 30.6 is completed by the end of the year,” read the statement from the IAAF.

Russia in the meantime have to wait until May. IAAF noted that the country has made ‘significant progress towards meeting many of the Verification Criteria established by its Council but there was still work still to be done to satisfy the Reinstatement conditions’.

There has been focus on Kenya over the last three years after about 40 athletes among them three top runners failed drug tests.

The last few days though the spotlight has been on Ethiopia, with at least three of their runners including their native athlete 1500m world champion Abeba Aregawi of Sweden, returning positive tests.

The two draft Anti-Doping bills 

But there is no let off for Kenya as such as the country now faces an embarrassing situation in the rush to beat the revised WADA deadline of April 5.

There are currently two Anti Doping draft bills rushing to be presented to and passed by parliament before approval by the Executive.

Former Boston Marathon winner and Cherangany MP Wesley Korir on Thursday presented an Anti-Doping Draft Bill to the National Assembly’s Labour and Social Welfare Committee which was approved to the disappointment of the Ministry of Sports and the Anti Doping Agency of Kenya, ADAK.

ADAK has been working with WADA and are currently on draft seven which was expected to be presented in parliament next week. Rodney Swigelaar, the Director of WADA's African Regional Office who is based in South Africa was in Nairobi for the past week working with ADAK on the draft prepared by the Ministry to ensure it conforms to WADA statutes.

Interestingly around the same time when Korir got the go ahead to present his bill to the Committee, which he did on Thursday and was received by the vice chairman Samuel Gichigi.

“What we have here is the Anti-Doping Legislation Proposal of 2015 what the Minister has the Legislative Proposal 2016 which we have not received and we have never been consulted about it. I have sent the same to WADA,” claimed Korir on Thursday, alluding to an argument supported by some federations who say they were not consulted in the preparation of the draft.

Sports News Arena contacted WADA’s regional Director who referred us to ADAK, evident that the body established and gazetted last January, was the only recognized working unit, and added that he “hope this matter can be cleared up quickly”.

Risk non compliance 

A source at ADAK urged Korir to instead rally behind the government sponsored bill and ensure Kenya beats the deadline instead of sponsoring a parallel draft, which could lead to the country being declared non complaint.

“Wesley’s intention are good, he is not doing a bad thing. But if he had a bill he should have involved the ministry and ADAK.

"He drafted a bill but the Minister did a letter to the speaker that he should just be patient because its going to give us complications if the document presented by Korir goes through.If it goes through and it hasn’t gone through WADA for sure we shall be declared non compliant,” cautioned the ADAK official who is not an authorized spokes person.

"i want to tell those trying to say they have their bill that theirs is not a bonafide bill. The only bonafide bill is the one by the Anti Doping Agency of Kenya,"Cabinet Secretary for Sports Dr Hassan Wario warned last Sunday.

The two bills are more or less the same but differ for instance on the length of sanctions and the fines to be meted out to cheats.

The other glaring difference is that Korir’s bill states that after the Anti Doping law is enacted the Kenya Anti- Doping Agency, KADA, will be the mandated body to carry out anti-doping activities in Kenya and execute the enforcement of the Kenya Anti-Doping Rules and Regulations.

However when ADAK was gazetted last year the gazette notice stated that KADA ceased to exist.