Kenya steps up efforts to be struck off IAAF doping watch list

Indo Asian News Service

Nairobi, March 7 (IANS) Top International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) anti-doping officials have given Kenya their seal of approval as the country strives to be removed from the world athletics governing body's doping watch list before the World Championships in London in August.

The eastern African distance running giant has set a target of June to be struck off the list it was included in by the IAAF alongside Morocco, Ethiopia, Belarus and Ukraine in 2016 with the status extended to this year, reports Xinhua news agency.

IAAF officials Thomas Capdeville and Kyle Barber were in Nairobi on Monday where they held a closed door meeting with top officials from the country's Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, Athletics Kenya (AK) and the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK).

They later released a road map for ensuring full compliance with anti-doping protocols prescribed by the IAAF.

The world body officials will pay another visit in to Kenya in April to check on the progress before a final assessment tour in June where the country hopes to have fulfilled all conditions to be formally expunged from the watch list.

"So, it was a very fruitful meeting, we had all the commitments we were expecting from all the various sectors around the table, the commitments and we worked on an action plan, very practical steps not very vague and general," Capdeville, who is the acting Director at the IAAF Anti-Doping Department, told the press.

"It was a practical meeting, we are operational people and it was good to see we have all the commitments that we wanted and we can coordinate towards protecting clean Kenyan athletes."

Capdevielle was accompanied by Barber, who is the IAAF Out-Of-Competition Testing Coordinator.

"It was a very unique occasion to go through very practical topics around how to improve the domestic national testing programme and how we can make it complementary to the IAAF programme.

"To make sure that whenever the Kenyan teams, Kenyan athletes are representing Kenya in international competitions there can be no doubt that all measures or actions were put in place to make sure that the performances are coming from clean athletes and that they are not tainted," he added.

AK President Lt. Gen (Retd) Jackson Tuwei said they would go through the IAAF officials' report to identify areas they need to work on in their bid to attain full compliance.

"Although we feel we are making good progress obviously we will depend a lot on the IAAF's feedback concerning the reports we will have handed over. Through the reports they will tell us what we haven't been doing well," Tuwei stressed.

ADAK CEO, Japhter Rugut identified the main challenge they were facing in the anti-doping war was the laborious process of transporting samples collected from rural areas to the capital Nairobi before they are sent to laboratories overseas for analysis.