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Kenya hosts World Athletics chief as country ramps up anti-doping effort

Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Sports Ababu Namwamba (L) and World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe (R) and in Nairobi on January 5, 2023.   -  
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TONY KARUMBA/AFP or licensors


Kenya hosted Thursday (Jan. 05), the president of World Athletics. The country's Sports Minister held a press conference in Nairobi with Sebastian Coe.

A raft of Kenyan runners were suspended last year after testing positive for banned drugs and entered the Athletics Integrity Unit global list of ineligible athletes. Kenya still escaped a ban contrary to Russia; a situation Sebastian Coe explained.

"What is the difference between our approach to Kenya than the approach that we took with Russia? Let me make this clear, these are two very different cases. As was evident in the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) report, those (Russian cases) coverups were organised at state authority level. There is no suggestion that is the case in Kenya, in fact, quite the reverse."

The World Athletics chief said the track and field powerhouse faced a "long journey" to tackle a doping crisis. The government has pledged $25 million over five years to help finance more anti-doping personnel, increase testing and investigation and bolster education programmes.

"Rather than hide from this grim statistics, rather than bury our heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich, we have accepted the challenge," Ababu Namwamba, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts said. "We have agreed that we have a problem, and we have moved on to prepare on how to confront that problem head on."

The East African nation has been in the top category on the World-Anti Doping Agency watch list for 7 years.

When Kenya created its anti-doping agency,it introduced criminal penalties for those caught up in cheating.

But nobody has been prosecuted to date, and the number of Kenyan athletes found guilty of doping has only climbed.

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