Nairobi, KENYA | AFP |
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Monday he will give priority to pass a new anti-doping law to beat a deadline and ensure the east African track giants compete at the Rio Olympics.
The second World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) deadline for Kenya to tighten its anti-doping law and provide funding for a proposed anti-doping agency expired last week, with lawmakers having failed to pass a bill criminalising sports doping.
A new WADA deadline of May 2 has been given.
“By next week latest, the Anti-Doping Bill will have been passed by parliament and I will have signed it into law – so that there will be no excuse to deny our team from participation in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August,” Kenyatta said in a statement.
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe had threatened to ban Kenya from the Rio Games.
“We know there are people who are looking for excuses to ensure that Kenya does not participate in the Olympics,” Kenyatta said, as he hosted athletes at a meeting at State House in the capital Nairobi.
“We will not give them that excuse.”
The proposed Anti-Doping Bill establishes the anti-doping agency and proposes a $1,000 (100,000 Kenyan shillings, 872 euros) fine, and/or a year in jail for athletes caught doping.
Those caught smuggling or administering banned substances face a $30,000 (3 million Kenya shillings, 26,200 euros) fine or a three-year jail term.
Many in Kenya fear doping is rife among their top-class runners, who have been the source of enormous national pride.
“We must win clean,” Kenyatta added. “As athletes, you are not only putting Kenya on the map and giving us pride – but you are also representing what is best about our country. This is something that we are very proud of.”
Kenyatta said that every athlete who wins an Olympic medal would be given a cash reward of $10,000 for a gold, and $5,000 for a silver.