Kenya opened an investigation into reports athletes in the East African nation used performance enhancing drugs after the World Anti-Doping Agency voiced similar concerns, Sports Secretary Hassan Wario Arero said.
A 12-member panel will investigate the prevalence of doping in sports and identify athletes taking banned drugs and the people who help them, Arero said, according to a notice today in the Kenya Gazette published in the capital, Nairobi.
“Following media reports on allegations that some Kenyan athletes may be engaged in doping, and following concerns of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on the same matter” the committee was appointed on Nov. 4 and must present its findings in 60 days, Arero said, according to the statement.
Kenya, famous for its runners, has produced 24 gold medalists in middle- and long-distance competitions since the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, a year after its independence from Britain, according to the Olympic’s website. David Rudisha represented Kenya at the London Olympics last year, setting a world record in the 800-meter race. Kenyan Wilson Kipsang clocked a world record at the Berlin Marathon Sept. 29, while Geoffrey Mutai and Priscah Jeptoo won the men’s and women’s races, respectively, at the New York City Marathon on Nov. 3.
Since January last year, Kenya has suspended 17 athletes for using drugs to improve their performance, up from two people in 2010 and 2011 combined, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported on Oct. 30.
Isaiah Kiplagat, chairman of Athletics Kenya, which is a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations, was traveling and unavailable to comment, according to an employee at his Nairobi office who asked not to be identified in line with policy.
Kipchoge Keino, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in running events and now head of the Kenyan Olympic Committee, did not answer a call to his mobile phone seeking comment.
The government panel will recommend changes to laws regulating the use of drugs in sports and suggest actions to take against people found responsible for the abuse, Arero said.
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