By Jude Titus
Kenya has received a reprieve after the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] extended the deadline to May 2 to legislate on the anti-doping bill so as to bring its program in line with the global code.
Kenya missed the April 5 deadline and WADA has threatened that its review committee will declare the country non-compliant if it does not meet the May 2 extension.
WADA indicates that on Tuesday an independent compliance review committee met and agreed that Kenya’s anti-doping program was still not in compliance with the global code.
‘‘Unless Kenya passes the doping legislation and formally adopts regulations for its new national anti-doping body by next month, the committee will ask WADA’s board to declare it non-compliant.
The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya [ADAK] received the good news and promised to ensure that Kenya will be on the same page with WADA come May 2nd.
‘‘We have been given a one-month extension by WADA. We are proceeding to Mombasa to consult with the Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Sports so that when the new anti-doping bill comes for a second reading, we will be on the same page,’’ indicated ADAK.
David Rudisha, the current Olympic champion and world record holder in the 800 meters had earlier expressed his fears that Kenyan athlete’s hard work in preparing for this year’s Olympics will go to waste if Kenya is banned by WADA.
‘‘We [athletes] are training hard and it is a pity if all this will go down the drain if Kenya is banned from the sport, said Rudisha.
He also blamed the Kenyan Government for not taking the matter seriously by passing the anti-doping bill in Parliament to meet the deadline.
‘‘We were given enough time to do all these things. I don’t understand why these people are not treating the matter with a lot of seriousness. It’s really unfortunate because the ball was thrown to the Government and the Sports Ministry,’’ reiterated Rudisha.
In February this year, Kenya missed another deadline to prove to WADA that it is ready to curb cheating in sports particularly in athletics. Kenya did not provide the assurances that WADA needed and was placed on a ‘watch-list’ of countries at risk of breaching the agency’s code of conduct.
‘‘While some progress has been made with the Anti-doping Agency of Kenya [ADAK], there is still a lot of work that must be done. This is now a matter for our independent compliance process,’’ read a statement from WADA.
The World Anti-Doping Agency is a foundation that was formed through a collective initiative that was headed by the International Olympic Committee [IOC] on November 10, 1999 to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against use of drugs in the sports industry.