German Olympic champion Robert Harting wants doping probe against Kenya, Jamaica

By: ELIAS MAKORI

Following Russia’s suspension from global athletics for violating doping rules, German Olympic discus champion Robert Harting now wants Kenya and Jamaica also investigated.

Russia was provisionally suspended from all international athletics competitions on Friday following a report by the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) on gross, widespread and government-sanctioned violation of doping rules.

The IAAF’s decision was taken at the 201st IAAF council meeting held by teleconference and chaired from London by IAAF’s new president Sebastian Coe.

A total of 24 members of the IAAF Council took part in the meeting with 22 voting in favour of the sanction against the All Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF).

The council member from Russia was not eligible to participate in the vote.

Harting welcomed the suspension of Russia and called for similar investigations to be carried out in Kenya and Jamaica.

“We have clarified the issue of Russia, now we have to move forward with Kenya and Jamaica and perform the same investigations,” Harting told media DPA.

ANTI-DOPING MECHANISMS

Athletics Kenya and the Kenyan government have been under pressure to set up water-tight anti-doping mechanisms and show commitment towards the fight against the use of illegal performance enhancing substances.

“We sent a clear message to clean athletes in a dirty system to report any doping or cheating that they see or hear about,” Namibia’s former athlete Frankie Fredericks, the head of the IAAF’s athletics commission said after Friday’s decision.

“We are 100 per cent in support of President Coe and believe that he is the leader that our sport needs to instigate the necessary actions swiftly and strongly,” he added.

The effects of Russia’s international ban are already being felt with Tatyana Arkhipova barred from running in Sunday’s Saitama International Marathon while Albina Mayorova and Nina Podnebesnova were also ejected from the Istanbul Marathon.

Kenya is currently the world’s leading athletics nation having topped the medal standings at this year’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

ANTI-DOPING AGENCY FORMED

On Friday, a Cabinet meeting at State House agreed to speed up the formal establishment of the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya and launch legislation that would criminalise doping.

ADAK’s principal tasks include carrying out doping control in the country, promoting the integrity of drug-free sports, overseeing the prosecution of anti-doping cases, developing and executing anti-doping rules and regulations.

According to the Cabinet brief, ADAK is also tasked with advising the government on all relevant matters pertaining to anti-doping, co-operating with the Regional Anti-Doping Organization (RADO), WADA and any other anti-doping organization in carrying out anti-doping activities in Kenya.

“The establishment of the Agency is in line with the resolutions reached at the 33rd Session of the General Conference of UNESCO on eliminating doping in sports, where State parties committed themselves to the principles of the World Anti-Doping Code,” the Cabinet brief read.

Kenya hosts the Africa Zone Five Regional Anti-Doping Organization secretariat that has nine member countries namely Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

The secretariat’s main aim is to develop anti-doping programmes that are compliant with the World Anti-Doping code.

Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach says the IOC is confident Russia will clean house in time to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

“We are confident that the initiatives being proposed by the ROC, with the responsible international organisations, WADA and the IAAF, will ensure compliance as soon as possible in order to provide participation of the clean Russian athletes at the Olympic Games,” Bach said after a meeting with Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Alexander Zhukov on Friday.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION