Kenya seeks to set up anti-doping testing lab

Nairobi, Aug 29 (IANS) Kenya Athletics (AK) officials want China and Norway together with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to speed up their efforts to build a sample testing laboratory in Nairobi to boost the fight against doping.

This follows the revelation in the ongoing World Championships in Beijing that two of Kenya’s sprint runners — Joyce Zakary and Francisca Koki — tested positive for banned substances during their in-competition tests done in the Chinese capital, reports Xinhua.

AK CEO Isaac Mwangi said it makes the need for the country to have a functional sample testing laboratory more urgent.

Currently only Johannesburg has a laboratory accredited and sanctioned by WADA to handle dope samples tests in Africa.

“We need to have a testing centre in Nairobi as soon as possible. That way, we will be able to increase the frequency of doing tests in Kenya,” Mwangi said on Saturday.

The Kenyan government, with help from China, Norway and WADA, has promised to have a functional centre in Nairobi before the 2017 World Youth Championships, which will be held in Nairobi.

“AK 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 World Anti-Doping Agency, Kenyan Government and international partners from China and Norway,” said AK acting president Jackson Tuwei.

But with the nabbing of Zakary and Koki, two average sprinters in Beijing, the need for the laboratory is more urgent as it offers a reality check for the country, which has dominated the middle and long distance races and has successfully made a niche for itself in the sprints and field events competitions.

“Athletics Kenya can confirm that it has been informed by the IAAF of the positive tests returned by two of its athletes, Koki and Zakari. The athletes have accepted the provisional suspension,” said Mwangi.

“Athletics Kenya has already met with the IAAF and the athletes involved, and has begun investigating the situation which led to these results and appropriate follow-up action will be taken in Kenya,” he said, adding that AK will provide full support and cooperation to the IAAF during results management process.

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