Uhuru Kenyatta / President of Kenya
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to ensure the country makes the necessary changes to its anti-doping system ahead of an extended deadline of 2 May to avoid providing an “excuse” for them to be suspended from this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Kenya missed an initial deadline of 5 April to introduce a new Bill into Parliament, something that was not passed in time due partly to a Parliamentary recess. A fresh time limit was imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) following discussion on Kenya during an Independent Compliance Review Committee meeting in Montreal.

If improvements are not made by then, a recommendation of non-compliance will be made ahead of a WADA Foundation Board meeting on 12 May. “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.

“We know there are people who are looking for excuses to ensure that Kenya does not participate in the Olympics. The head of state spoke when he hosted the Paris Marathon and the World Half Marathon teams for breakfast at State House, Nairobi, on Tuesday.

“We must win clean,” the President told the athletes, saying Kenya’s undisputed position as the world athletics champions should not be tainted by doping. Enactment of the bill is a key requirement set by Wada for Kenya’s participation in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics that begin on 5 August.

Around 40 Kenyans have tested positive for banned drugs since 2012, including three-times Boston Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo, who failed for erythropoietin in 2014.

Kenya – along with Ethiopia, Morocco, Ukraine and Belarus – are all to have their anti-doping programmes monitored by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) due to concerns, it was announced following a Council meeting of the world governing body in Monte Carlo last month.

- Africa News Agency