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World Athletics president Coe says he will back Kenya as it walks the talk in doping fight

 World Athletics President Lord Seb Coe (L) and Sports CS Ababu Namwamba during a press conference at Weston Hotel on January 5,2023. (Kelly Ayodi, Standard)

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says he will back Kenya's war on doping by offering full support in the fight against the vice that has tainted the country's image as a global athletics power house.

Coe, who is in the country also met President William Ruto at State House, Nairobi yesterday and also held a closed-door meeting with selected athletes and coaches including former World Cross Country champion Geoffrey Kamowor, Daniel Simiu, sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala, Beatrice Chebet, Irene Cheptai, David Rudisha among others.

Kenya is in Category "A" of countries where doping is prevalent, but managed to escape a ban despite the rise in doping cases.

Coe lauded Kenya's efforts to fight the doping scourge adding that the move by the Government to increase funding in the fight against doping to Sh619 million annually for a period of five years, is a great effort on the war.

"The extra resources will help increase the number of tests, investigations besides bolstering the fight, however the war will not be won overnight, but in the end it will a goal worth it," said Coe who was accompanied by Sports CS Ababu Namwamba, PS Jonathan Mueke, Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (Adak) Chief Executive Officer Sarah Shibutse, Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jackson Tuwei and AK executive member Barnaba Korir at a press conference with the Sports CS after the State House meeting.

"In my meeting with President Ruto, he made it clear that the war on doping is priority and the World Athletics and Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) is happy with the plan Kenya has taken," he added.

Coe, a former 800m world record holder also disclosed he had received questions from other world federations and global media on the differences on doping in Kenya and the case of Russia, who are banned.

"My answers concerning doping in Kenya are simple, unlike Russia, Kenya's doping is not systematic, it's not sanctioned by the Government. Infact, Kenyan authority has offered to fight the menace," said Coe.

President Ruto in a statement shared on his official twitter handle pledged to partner in creating the right framework for athletes to thrive.

"We thank the World Athletics for its consideration of Kenya's situation, we are determined to protect Kenya's reputation and heritage as an athletics powerhouse. We are ready to work together with athletes, their contacts and partners to confront the doping menace and protect the integrity of our champion," he wrote.

On his part Namwamba said that they will partner with AIU and AK to ensure that issues pertaining to athletics sports management and Kenya's battle against doping is achieved.

Last month the government rolled out a multi-agency three-day retreat on anti-doping at the Moi Stadium, Kasarani and Namwamba restated the multi-agencies will adopt the blueprint of the anti-doping summit and the country is ready to abide by World Athletics guidelines in view of preserving the country's strong tradition of competing and winning clean.

"We have put an effective multi-agency response plan to deliver zero tolerance to doping. After the retreat in December, we will be deploying the plan to effect just as Adak is deploying every measure to fight doping. We are giving an assurance that we will win the war with support from World Athletics and AIU," Namwamba said.

Last year over 40 athletes were banned or suspended for varying doping offences with Adak CEO Shibutse confirming that the national anti-doping watchdog will be releasing more names in the coming days.

"In the past we were not disclosing the names of the athletes sanctioned until last year when the court gave us a go ahead to release the names of the athletes sanctioned. Going forward, we will be releasing the names as they come this week or early next week," she said.

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