Gov’t has set aside Ksh3B to fight doping in Sports, Ruto says

Thursday, January 5th, 2023 14:09 | By
Ruto says Govt' will not spare efforts in fight against doping
President William Ruto shakes hands with President of World Athletics Sebastian Coe in State House after their meeting on matters doping among athletes. PHOTO/Facebook(State House)

President William Ruto has affirmed that the government is committed to fighting against doping in Sports.

Speaking on Thursday, January 5, at State House Nairobi, after his meeting with the President of World Athletics Sebastian Coe, the Head of State noted that his administration has set aside Ksh3 billion to help in this fight for the next five years.

In a statement, the two also pledged to protect athletes' dignity and work together in creating the right frameworks for them to excel.

“We will collaborate with partners, sportsmen and their contacts to tackle doping that threatens our heritage,” Ruto noted.

Criminalising doping

Ruto's sentiments follow Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba's warning that the State intends to criminalise doping in athletics in an attempt to bring an end to a string of cases in the sport.

The CS spoke after Kenya escaped a sanction by governing body World Athletics - despite having 55 athletes serving suspensions.

Namwamba noted that he hopes to fast-track amendments to legislation and crack down on doping the same way the government does with drugs.

“Right now, the Kenya Anti-Doping Act of 2016 is not, in my view, sufficiently loaded to deal with this challenge with the force required,” Namwamba told BBC Sport Africa.

“Our initial investigations are that you have a very complex underground syndicate [involved in doping in athletics]. It involves agents, coaches and doctors so it will need multiple instruments to be deployed to dismantle that syndicate."

“I believe we need to criminalise doping and elevate handling of doping substances to the same level [as] narcotics. So, in the same way, we deal with drug traffickers, we should deal similarly with those engaged in this practice,” he noted.

Kenya ranks third with a total of 55 athletes currently banned by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for a range of violations behind Russia (102) and India (61).

A further eight Kenyans have been provisionally suspended and are awaiting the outcomes of their cases.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) does not believe doping should be made a criminal offence for athletes, with those sanctioned having a right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015 but World Athletics president Lord Coe told BBC Sport that Kenya was not going to face a similar fate, although the situation in the country was “very serious”.

“They weren’t going to be banned because unlike the Russian situation, which we’ve been dealing with for the last seven years, there is no obvious evidence that this is state-sponsored or state-secured,” Sebastian Coe said.

“The challenge in Kenya is difficult and chaotic."

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