Kenya was pushed to investigate by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after 17 of its athletes tested positive between January 2012 and June 2013. FILE PHOTO
Kenya is to introduce a new licensing system for foreign athletics agents in a bid to stop their fabled distance runners being exposed to doping products.
The move follows recommendations made by a government-sponsored anti-doping taskforce, which said corrupt sports agents were manipulating some Kenyan athletes into using performance-enhancing drugs.
Kenya was pushed to investigate by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after 17 of its athletes tested positive between January 2012 and June 2013, some of them for using the blood-boosting drug Erythropoietin (EPO).
Kenyan Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario said a vetting board independent of Athletics Kenya will be set up to approve a list of agents allowed to operate in the country.
Wario, who made public the findings of a three-month investigation into allegations of widespread doping among Kenyan athletes, called "for a severe punishment to those who knowingly engaged in the vice."
The task-force report, which did not uncover any evidence of the use of the drugs among top athletes, said the "few reported cases were aided and abetted by professional doctors, managers and agents."
"We are liaising with relevant authorities including WADA to see that further punitive action may be taken against offending individuals, athletes, officials and organisations," Mr Wario said.
The minister said Kenya is in the process of setting up a new national agency to be known as Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to improve the management of anti-doping in the country.
"We have set aside more than five million shillings ($562,000, 439,000 euros) for anti-doping activities and programmes. We are seeking ways and means of improving this amount"