WADA investigations should focus more on Kenya

By evelyn watta
Jan 12, 2022

The second part of the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA report to be released on Thursday will likely not focus on Kenya, which was widely mentioned in the reports by the German broadcaster ARD and British Newspaper Sunday Times, a glaring oversight.

German documentary maker Hajo Seppelt whose work was aired on ARD said the WADA Report commission's mandate should not end with the release of the second report but extend to include Kenya, who had no single out of competition tests done between 2006-2012.

Seppelt’s documentary, aired last December, forced WADA to constitute an independent commission to investigate the allegations that led to the suspension of Russia from the world of athletics.

Recently the IAAF Ethics commission banned and fined three top officials- the son of Lamine Diack Papa Massata and Russian officials Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov for corruption and doping cover-ups.

“It is unfortunate that the report will not include Kenya. There has been no further investigation done on Kenya (by the WADA independent commission) but there are lots of people who are demanding an investigation on Kenya. It could be absolutely worthwhile to have an investigation.I personally think it is absolutely necessary.” 

"According to the IAAF database since 2006 at least until 2012 not a single out of competition blood test conducted by the IAAF has been conducted on Kenyans in Kenya. We don’t know what happened after 2012 because the database we have is up to 2012 before the Olympics,” Seppelt said of the suspicions which he believes should form a strong basis for investigations.

Kenya has no accredited testing center and the doping samples are often airlifted to laboratories in Europe or South Africa.

The cited database is part of the leaked IAAF doping files obtained by the journalists that contained results of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes between 2001 and 2012.

According to the data base Kenyan runners had won 18 medals whose results were suspicious. About 30 Kenyan runners have failed drugs tests since 2012 with Rita Jeptoo, winner of the Boston and Chicago Marathons, the top runner to fail a test for EPO.

Last december, Emily Chebet a former world cross country champion was also banned for a failed drug test.

“For example, Rita Jeptoo had no single sample collected from her between 2006-2012 and not one of the famous marathon tests had tests conducted according to the database. IAAF explained this was for logistical reasons but I think there is no explained reasons for this,” Seppelt insisted adding that the IAAF could have flown the sample for testing to Europe within the stipulated time.

Athletics Kenya: This is unfair push 

According to the IAAF blood testing protocol, samples for screening purposes should be analyzed as soon as possible and, in any event, within 36 hours of sample collection.

It is a concern that has also been supported by WADA independent’s commission chair Dick Pound who has maintanted that there ‘is a lot of performance enhancing drugs being used in Kenya’.

However, Athletics Kenya Chief Executive Office Isaac Mwangi said it is unfair to compare the Kenyan case to Russia where there was systematic and state sponsored doping.

“It is an unfair push. You can’t use an omission to blindly push for punishment or investigate a country. There is no evidence that showed systematic doping here that should warrant for focussed investigations.

“It is important to note that we don’t have any Kenyan coach who has been accused of assisting doping and we at Athletics Kenya and the government have shown the willingness to deal with doping. We are aware that there were suspicions which were uncovered with the positive tests and sanctioned.”

IAAF has been investigating alleged doping cover-ups in Kenya. So far the Ethics Commission has suspended three officials led by the former president Isaiah Kiplagat for allegedly embezzling Ksh.70m shillings of Nike sponsorship money.

WADA's independent commission will release it's second part of the its report into allegations of widespreading doping in athletics on Thursday in Munich.