President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised that the country will meet the deadline for Anti-doping Bill 2016 set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) issued Kenya until May 2, 2016 to pass a law that will make doping illegal among athletes in the country, saying that if the country fails before this time, it will not take part in the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The President has assured following the threats that the Government has given the Bill priority, adding that he is personally keeping updates with the leadership in the National Assembly until it is passed. Speaking at the State House, Nairobi, on Monday, April 11, when he hosted the Paris Marathon and the World Half Marathon teams for breakfast, the head of state said:
“By next week latest, the Anti-Doing Bill will have been passed by Parliament and I will have signed it into law so that there will be no excuse to deny our team from participation in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.”
The president explained that if the bill is enacted, the country will be allowed to go on performing superlatively in the world of athletics as it is known for and also prove those making excuses wrong.
President Kenyatta said
“We know there are people who are looking for excuses to ensure that Kenya does not participate in the Olympics. We will not give them that excuse.
We must win clean, Kenya’s undisputed position as the world athletics champions should not be tainted by doping.”
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stretched the deadline it gave to Kenya to May 2, 2016, in order to give the country more time to pass a law that will make doping a crime in the country.
In February, 2016, WADA President Lord Coe said the body was reviewing Kenya’s situation, opining that the country is bound to be banned if the country does not show any effort of rooting out doping.
Coe warned told BBC that:
“We have to be much more proactive. We know that a disproportionate amount of reputational damage is caused by a relatively few countries. If it means pulling them out of World Championships or Olympic Games then we will have to do that,” .
He said Wada has been monitoring the situation in Kenya and it is now time action should be taken once clear conclusion is reached.
“I know the World Anti-Doping Agency has looked very closely at the Kenyan National Anti-Doping Agency. We, of course, monitor that through the IAAF, so that work is ongoing,”.
The enactment of the Bill that is set to criminalize sports doping is a major prerequisite set by WADA for Kenya to take part in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics starting on August 5. The president promised to give athletes who will be representing the country in Rio Olympics some incentives to make them improve efficiency in readiness for the competition. According to President Uhuru, he will reward athletes who win medals with the following.
A gold medal winner will receive a KSh1 million reward, silver medal KSh500,000 while bronze medallists will be awarded KSh250,000. The team that wins will also receive KSh1 million.
He also added:
“Even if you win prizes, you represent our country. Therefore, we also have a responsibility to appreciate your efforts,”. As athletes, you are not only putting Kenya on the map and giving us pride but you are also representing what is best about our country. This is something that we are very proud of and I want to assure you of my personal as well as my Government’s continued support,”.
Kenya has gained international fame for performing exceptionally in long distance tracks, but so far, more than 40 athletes have been banned for being involved in doping, placing the popular sport in serious jeopardy if the bill is not passed.