Athletics Kenya defends anti-doping programme

Nairobi, Aug 3 (IANS) Kenya is fast tracking its anti-doping testing lab to be set up here as it seeks to step up the fight against the vice in athletics.

Athletics Kenya (AK) acting president Jackson Tuwei said they will not be derailed by allegation by German TV’s ARD’s documentary,which showed widespread systematic doping in the country. The TV station aired the documentary on Saturday, ironically the very day the country named its 47-member team for the Beijing World Championships later this month, reports Xinhua.

Tuwei said on Sunday the testing laboratory will be set up with the help of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and international partners.

“Kenya has been at the forefront of identifying doping as a problem and in the past two years it devoted a lot of time and resources to combat the vice with the assistance of IAAF, the WADA, Kenyan government and international partners from China and Norway,” said an AK statement.

Tuwei defended Kenya’s anti-doping programme and said the new allegation in the German documentary only targets to shift focus from the World Championships and plant a seed of doubt in the athletes. Tuwei said the allegation in the 55-minute documentary is extremely suspect and ill motivated.

“The documentary not only makes serious and sweeping allegations on doping but also makes serious allegations on the integrity of our current and former leaders, including our sponsor without giving them an opportunity to respond to the allegations,” said the statement.

Tuwei noted that the evidence upon which the report was aired was based on private and confidential data as well as forged documents from AK which are now a subject of investigations by the relevant authorities.

“We cannot fail to point out the documentary is an attempt to smear our runners with unwarranted suspicion as they prepare to undertake duty for their country in Beijing. The claims are deliberately aimed at derailing the preparations and the participation of the Kenyan team in the World Championships,” added the statement.

AK has been under criticism for doing little or nothing to tackle the vice with over 40 athletes having been caught doping in the last two years, which is almost double the number of cheats caught in the last decade.

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