The World Athletics Council spared Kenya from being banned from active competitions by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) due to rampant doping problem in the country.
World Athletics President Seb Coe said reports about a possible full-scale ban for the country were misguided, and that increased funding and vigilance from the Kenyan government and the pledge of investing $5 million per year into anti-doping efforts over the next five years, persuaded authorities to stop short of the most radical sanctions.
‘World Athletics has been concerned,’ said Coe. ‘Kenya has been on the watch list for a few years already.
The country has been in panic for the last few weeks that they would be blacklisted in the style of Russia by World Athletics, given that the country has 55 athletes who are serving the doping bans.
The World Athletics president who was speaking in Rome said, “In one year 40 per cent of all the positive tests in global athletics have been in Kenya and this is not a situation that World Athletics was prepared to sit and watch develop.”
All stakeholders internationally and domestically are now aligned to resolve this situation and I am pleased we have a united response. But my instinct tells me it will be a long journey.’ He said.
Kenya is among four countries included in Category A – member federations the World Athletics believe are most likely to have doping problems – along with Ethiopia, Belarus, hosts of next year’s European Games, and Ukraine and this has subjected its athletes to increased testing in the last ten months leading up to a major event to be eligible. “I know the Kenyan government feels this has been a disfiguring period in what should have been a Herculean period for Kenyan athletics,” Coe said. “But I’m really delighted, because actually, all the stakeholders that matter, both domestically and internationally, are now aligned in coming together to really do everything we can to resolve this situation.”