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Kenyan athletes hopeful despite looming bans ahead of anti-doping report

Kenyan athletes hopeful despite looming bans ahead of anti-doping report


As the world waits for World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to publish the a second report into corruption and doping, top Kenyan athletes remain hopeful that the report will not disrupt their preparations for the Rio Olympics.

The athletes are in high-altitude training in the Rift Valley town of Iten, uncertain about the consequences of the report which could reveal the state of doping in the East African nation.

But they are optimistic Kenya will not go the Russian way and potentially miss out on a trip to Rio.
“I don’t think Kenya will be banned,” said legendary athletics coach Colm O’Connell in Iten.

“I don’t think, and of course I am hoping, doping is not systematic in Kenya. There is no evidence that I can say that Athletics Kenya or the government or anybody have been systematically involved in promoting it.”

O’Connell added: “I am hoping the report will give us a way forward for our athletes, and even beyond Rio. This is going to take much longer than Rio for Kenya to regain its reputation and credibility of its performances.”

And 800 metres champion David Rudisha insists that the athletes had been totally in the dark about doping allegations, but warned it would be unfortunate if innocent Kenyan runners were made to suffer for those found guilty of doping offences.

“As sports people we feel really bad. Whenever we hear about these things (doping) happening in Kenya, it is really disappointing since Kenya is known for having great athletes who have been winning titles for many years by running clean,” Rudisha told AFP.

Kenya has been under great scrutiny from anti-doping officials and has been facing heavy criticism that it has not done enough to tackle the problem.

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