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Athletics officials shrug off ban threats

By Robert Manyara

NAIVASHA, Kenya, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) on Thursday allayed fears that the country may be banned from participating in the coming Olympics due to increased cases of doping.

A day after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) threatened to ban Kenya from athletics; ADAK said it had put necessary measures as required by global athletics body, IAAF.

According to the new ADAK CEO Kiplimo Rugut, WADA has recommended a raft of measures to be taken that they were currently embarking on.

Rugut said they were working closely with the world body noting that it wanted the Kenyan government to expedite and show commitment in fighting the vice.

“They wanted to know how the government has committed itself to ADAK in terms of budgets, policy and bill and staffing,” he said at a workshop for the agency’s staff in Naivasha, about 90kms northwest of Nairobi.

The former Central Provincial Commissioner said that the agency was in the process of procuring anti-doping equipments noting that Treasury has already released 3 million U.S. dollars.

“We are on track and the equipments including testing kits would be situated in all training camps for athletes across the country,” he said.

“We have fully cooperated with WADA although we recognize there have been delays in the processes hence the lapse of one of the deadlines that had been put in place,” he added.

Rugut was speaking to the press during the ongoing workshop for the agency’s staff at Enashipai resort in Naivasha.

He said the meeting was meant to help develop an organizational structure while preparing a human resources manual for the new agency.

On Wednesday, IAAF threatened to ban Kenya’s entire track and field team from the Olympics if the country’s athletics federation joined Russia in being declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe confirmed he would not hesitate to seek the ultimate sanction for any nation guilty of attempting to cover up drug-taking following a stream of shocking allegations about Kenyan athletics and its officials.

Kenya, who finished top of the medal table at last year’s World Championships, last week missed a deadline to prove to WADA it was doing enough to combat doping.

It faces an anxious wait to learn whether it will be declared non-compliant with the agency’s code, something that could see its athletes banned from competing on the world stage.

Rugut on the hand said the agency was looking into the allegations leveled against Athletics Kenya CEO Isaac Mwangi, adding that they would release a report soon.

“We have heard the allegations and a committee have been formed by the Agency’s board to look into the issues and the findings will be made public.”