Kenya's president signs anti-doping bill into law

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signs anti-doping bill into law ahead of Rio Olympics

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Athletes exercise in the early morning in Iten, near the town of Eldoret, western Kenya March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola/File Photo.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law on Friday an anti-doping bill required to avoid a ban from the Rio Olympics for a nation famed for its runners but tainted by a spate of doping cases in recent years.

The athletics world has been in turmoil since the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued a report in November citing widespread use of doping in the sport. About 40 Kenyan athletes have been banned for doping in the last three years.

Flanked by senior government officials and sportsmen and women, Kenyatta was shown signing the bill into law in a video released by the president's office.

"Kenya is 100 percent committed to ensuring total compliance with international regulations on sports and athletics," he said at the signing ceremony, adding that the law is the continuation of efforts "to stand against cheating and corruption."

Kenya had been given a one-month extension on April 7 to comply with WADA regulations or face sanctions that could include a ban from this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"From today, anybody caught cheating must face the full force of the law and we can now train knowing that the world will accept our results," Asbel Kiprop, three-time world 1,500m champion, told Reuters.

The law, demanded by WADA, will criminalise doping in a country with a history of middle and long-distance running excellence, but tainted by recent doping cases.

"The world will now look at us differently," said Julius Kirwa, who coached the Kenyan team in last year's World Championships in Moscow.

Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei said: "We can now prepare well for the Olympics knowing we shall participate."

Kenya had missed a February deadline to establish a legal framework for its Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK).

TRTWorld, Reuters