Kenya told to crack down on doping


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The Independent Online

The Kenyan government has been urged by the World Anti-doping Agency's athlete committee to set up an independent inquiry into the doping allegations that have surrounded the country's runners in recent months.

The call comes as the IAAF, athletics' world governing body, takes steps to set up a permanent testing facility in the country. The IAAF is undertaking a feasibility study towards establishing a blood-testing centre either in Nairobi or in Eldoret, the highlands' heartland of Kenyan distance running.

Thirteen Kenyan runners returned positive tests between January 2012 and January this year. These results have been accompanied by allegations of widespread doping at high-altitude training camps. A first sign that the number of cases is causing alarm in Kenya came earlier this year when the government began an investigation, described as "secretive" and not enough for Wada's athlete committee, which includes the British cyclist David Millar and Frankie Fredericks, the former Olympic sprinter. The committee believes only an independent inquiry can address the issue adequately.

Wada has labelled Kenya as one of its global doping hot spots and a "location of choice" for would-be dopers, not just Kenyans but athletes from other countries too. Efforts to police isolated training camps around the Eldoret region have proved difficult, but all the major Kenyan runners who competed in the London Marathon said they have been tested three or four times in the last year.

Earlier this week Wada finally revoked testing accreditation for a laboratory in Tunis, meaning that Johannesburg hosts the only lab in Africa where samples can currently be processed.