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Kenya approves new anti-doping law ahead of WADA deadline

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP |

Kenya on Friday approved a new anti-doping law which the east African track giant hopes will lift the threat of their exclusion from the Rio Olympics.

President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the legislation well ahead of a May 2 deadline imposed by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

“I am confident that WADA will look upon the passage of our anti-doping law favourably as a sign of our unwavering commitment to meeting the highest international standards,” Kenyatta said.

He added: “I want to urge our athletes and sportsmen and women to hold themselves to the highest possible code of conduct.”

Friday’s development comes after Kenya lawmakers had missed two previous WADA-imposed ultimatums on February 11 and April 5 to pass a bill criminalising sports doping.

Kenya had been placed on a ‘watch-list’ of nations at risk of breaching WADA’s code.

The new bill is intended to save Kenyan athletes from an Olympics ban threatened by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe.

Kenyatta said the cases of doping in Kenyan athletics were not indicative of a widespread problem in the country.

“I know that the few cases of cheating we have encountered in the past are not a reflection on the integrity of all our athletes,” the Kenyan president maintained.

The fresh legislation establishes a new Kenyan national anti-doping body with a $1000 (872 euros) fine and or a one year prison sentence for any athletes convicted of using drugs.

Anyone found to have provided or administered banned products face a $30,000 fine or three years in prison.

WADA is meeting in Montreal on May 12 to vote on Kenya’s case.

An IAAF decision on Russia, currently banned from world athletics over allegations of systematic doping, will also be taken in May.

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