After a number of its athletes were punished for doping, Kenya’s government is pleading with World Athletics not to exclude the nation from the sport, promising to intensify its fight against the use of illegal drugs.
The nation of East Africa is well known across the world for its middle and distance runners, who have captured multiple gold medals at the Olympics and World Championships and set records at marathon competitions.
The sports powerhouse has recently been shaken by an increasing number of its runners testing positive after years of being accused of using performance-enhancing substances on a large scale.
A ban would make it impossible for its athletes to compete on a worldwide scale and would seriously harm the nation’s reputation in the sport.
Ababu Namwamba, Kenya’s minister of sports, posted on Twitter on Friday, “We will not allow immoral persons to tarnish Kenya’s brand through doping.” “We must stop doping and the people that do it.”
According to the Daily Nation newspaper, the government has informed the governing body that it has pledged $5 million each year for the next five years to the fight against doping.
It also has a commitment to “zero tolerance” for doping and is adopting “strong measures,” according to Namwamba.
Kenya’s government wrote to World Athletics this week in an effort to prevent a potential ban. A representative for World Athletics told Reuters that the letter had indeed been received.
According to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), a non-profit organisation established by World Athletics to combat doping in athletics, eight Kenyan athletes are currently suspended and fifty-five are currently prohibited from competition.
According to the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules, Kenya is a “Category A” nation, hence its athletes are required to submit to at least three random, out-of-competition urine and blood tests before major competitions.
Currently, there are seven nations classified as “Category A,” including Belarus, Ethiopia, and Ukraine.
The AIU claimed in an email that despite receiving a statement from the Kenyan government, it had not heard back.
2021 Boston Marathon winner Diana Kipyokei and fellow Kenyan Betty Wilson Lempus, who were provisionally suspended last month for taking triamcinolone acetonide, are among the country’s drug users.
Joyce Chepkirui, a Kenyan athlete who won the African 10000 metres title in 2014 and the Commonwealth Games, was banned for four years in April for an Athlete Biological Passport inconsistency that began in 2019.