Former Athletics Kenya officials who had been suspended by IAAF received another shocker when their suspension was extended by the lead investigator Sharad Rao who said on Monday.
Kenya the global powerhouse in middle and long-distance running, has been in the spotlight recently following allegations of widespread doping by its athletes.
The three senior officials were provisionally suspended by the IAAF on Nov. 30, accused of subverting anti-doping processes.
“The suspensions have been extended for a further 180 days in respect of Isaiah Kiplagat, David Okeyo and Joseph Kinyua,” Rao told Reuters on Monday.
“The three officials expected their suspensions to end on May 29, but that has been extended for a further 180 days,” said Rao.
“I have received their formal responses denying all allegations against them,” he said.
Up to 40 Kenyan athletes have failed doping tests in the past four years, forcing global anti-doping agency WADA to demand greater action. Three-times former Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo is serving a two-year ban.
In a bid to meet WADA compliance and avoid being barred from international competitions including this year’s Rio Olympic Games, Kenya’s Parliament enacted anti-doping laws in April and the government set up the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK).
A high powered delegation led by Kenya government officials Sports cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohammed travelled to Montreal, Canada to meet Wada officials in which 26 issues the world agency had with Kenya’s Anti-Doping Law were raised.
Wada also wanted Adak’s mandate expanded to include educating athletes on anti-doping matters and coming up with a management system for athletes, coaches and other support staff.
The agency also wanted the penalties for athletes and managers caught to have engaged in the doping offence removed from the Bill, arguing the issues were criminal in nature and could be handled in a separate criminal legislation or court. Various stakeholders welcomed Thursday’s development.
Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei said that the move by Parliament will reduce the rising cases of doping. “This is what we all wanted and looked forward to. With the rules and regulations enforced, I am confident we shall witness a significant reduction in cases of cheating in sports,” said Tuwei.