The pressure on Athletics Kenya intensified further on Tuesday as the IAAF revealed it had been investigating alleged doping cover-ups in the country since March. The IAAF’s admission came just hours after Dick Pound, who led the damning Independent Commission report into Russian athletics, also warned “a lot of performance-enhancing drugs” were being used in Kenya.
Athletics’ world governing body confirmed that its Ethics Commission, which is to publish a report into the alleged corrupt behaviour of several former members of the International Association of Athletics Federations next month, is investigating the African country. “An IAAF staff member referred allegations of the covering up of doping in Kenya to the IAAF Ethics Commission in March of 2015,” the federation admitted.
Meanwhile Pound has claimed the problems in Kenya are not only a concern for the World Anti-Doping Agency but should worry every endurance athlete. “It is pretty clear that Kenya have enjoyed huge success in the endurance events and it is also pretty clear that there is a lot of performance-enhancing drugs being used in Kenya,” he said. “That should be a matter of concern for athletes. It certainly is a matter of concern to Wada. And it should be a concern anyone participating in those events.”
Pound’s comments follow those of the Kenyan Olympic Committee chairman, Kipchoge Keino, who warned last week that Wada was “seriously considering” banning Kenya from track and field for four years. There have also been rumours that unnamed marathon runners have paid bribes to avoid serving doping bans.
Detectives have also questioned three of the most senior officials at Athletics Kenya – Isaiah Kiplagat, the chairman, David Okeyo, the vice-president, and Joseph Kinyua, its former treasurer – over claims they pocketed close to $700,000 from Nike, an accusation the sportswear manufacturer has strongly denied. Okeyo, who sits on the IAAF’s 26-person ruling council, and Kiplagat have denied the allegations, which they claim were made by a disgruntled former employee.