Inept but not corrupt: Kenya's doping mess

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Inept but not corrupt: Kenyas doping mess
Rita Jeptoo of Kenya kisses the trophy after winning the women's division of the 118th Boston Marathon

Nairobi - Never before have Kenya's fabulously successful runners gone to the Olympics in such a negative light


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Published: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 8:43 PM

Last updated: Tue 26 Jul 2016, 10:46 PM

Never before have Kenya's fabulously successful runners gone to the Olympics in such a negative light.
 Kenya has a doping problem, no doubt, but seemingly not on the same scale as Russia . There's no indication that the East African country has a state-sponsored conspiracy to hide cheating.
 While Russia's anti-doping program appears corrupt - leading to a ban for its track and field team and a narrowly-avoided blanket ban for all Russian competitors from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics - Kenya's drug-testing program is best described as inept. That doesn't mean there aren't serious issues and allegations in Kenya. The country's track team goes to Rio - there was a moment when it also might have been thrown out - with its reputation at stake.
 The Kenyan doping mess explained:
 At least 40 Kenyan track and field athletes have failed doping tests and been banned since the 2012 Olympics in London.
 Four senior officials at the Kenyan track federation, including the top two, have been suspended by the IAAF - track and field's international governing body - after being accused of trying to corrupt the anti-doping process.
 It's almost three months since Kenya's entire drug-testing program was declared non-compliant and suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency because of problems with how it's run.
 Seven men - five Kenyans, an Italian coach and an Italian agent - are facing criminal charges in two separate cases in Kenya related to allegations of supplying and administering banned substances to runners.  Although 40 doping cases in four years is a significant number, the vast majority so far have been lower-level runners who haven't won major titles. There are a couple of exceptions: Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo and two-time cross-country world champion Emily Chebet are among those banned.
 Kenyan authorities promised extensive testing of their Olympic athletes to show that the stars - such as 800-metre world-record holder David Rudisha - are clean. In the last few weeks, the sports minister said, around 400 tests were conducted on Kenya's full Olympic team of just over 100 athletes.

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