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Kenya gets more funds for doping probe

AFP

A long-distance runner powers up a country road near the Kenyan town of Eldoret, on March 6, 2008A long-distance runner powers up a country road near the Kenyan town of Eldoret, on March 6, 2008

A long-distance runner powers up a country road near the Kenyan town of Eldoret, on March 6, 2008A long-distance runner powers up a country road near the Kenyan town of Eldoret, on March 6, 2008

The Kenyan government has agreed to give additional funding to a special taskforce probing doping allegations amid renewed pressure from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Sports Minister Hassan Wario said.

The investigations started late last year but then stalled due to lack of funds, again raising the prospect of WADA sanctions against the distance-running powerhouse.

But Wario said the government had agreed to bankroll the probe and that a final report on their findings would be published before the end of March.

"We cannot start something and leave it halfway. This is a very important task, and it was my ministry during my time that initiated it," Wario said at a press conference attend by a team of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Kenyan Olympic Committee officials.

"I am sure we are all keen to make sure this report is submitted in good time and that it captures all the key areas that we are supposed to capture," added Wario.

WADA's Africa office director, Rodney Swigelaar, who is part of a four-member fact-finding mission to the country, welcomed the government's committment to complete the taskforce's work.

"We are happy that the investigation is off the ground. Especially now so that there is a show of commitment from the government to ensure the taskforce will be allowed to complete their work and ensure a comprehensive, transparent and a coordinated report is submitted to the world at large," he said.

"Everybody is waiting for that report to see what came out of it."

Kenya has been under pressure to take action against doping since a German television investigation in 2013 alleged that banned drugs, including the blood booster EPO, were readily available to athletes.

Since January 2012, increased tests have netted 17 Kenyan cheats. While none of them have been big-name record breakers, the findings have contradicted previous assertions from Athletics Kenya that its runners were spotless.

The allegations have cast a shadow over Kenya, famed for its runners who hold world records from 800m through to the marathon and where running is a major source of national pride ans well as, in some communities, an important source of income.

Date created : 2014-02-11