KENYA – The Kenyan government through the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), in conjunction with the County Government of Uasin Gishu, is set to establish an Antidoping Facility in Eldoret.
The Ministry of Sports together with the Antidoping Agency (ADAK), and other agencies have identified a location for the facility and are working to ensure it kicks off within the next six months.
According to the 2022 report by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and ADAK, at least 55 Kenyan athletes are now banned, while eight more have their eligibility temporarily suspended.
The facility, which will be a fully recognised anti-doping centre, would serve not only the country but also the East African region as a whole.
KEMRI has already requested funding for the facility from the National Treasury through the Ministry of Health, and Eldoret has already been chosen as the site by the National Government.
The Uasin Gishu County Government, ADAK, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and Athletics Kenya will collaborate on the initiative. The widespread use of doping products and procedures has hurt the health of athletes and the integrity of sports.
According to the Institute, Kenya is a category A under the Anti-Doping Rules of World Athletics meaning that athletes must undergo at least three no-notice tests.
Dubbed the first-ever accredited anti-doping facility in the Eastern African region, KEMRI says the move would be vital in combating doping especially in the Athletics sport, which has not only negatively impacted athletes’ health but also the integrity of the sport.
KEMRI says the facility exemplifies the government’s awareness and commitment to ending doping in the country.
“The Kenya Ministry of Sports and indeed the Kenya Government has acknowledged the doping crisis and has committed to taking firm measures to protect and uphold the integrity of athletics in the country and treating it as a matter of top strategic national interest,” KEMRI stated.
“The doping crisis is threatening the sport and the careers of athletics in the country.”
Currently, samples collected from Kenyan athletes are sent to Germany or South Africa for analysis, something KEMRI says is cumbersome, maybe erroneous and costly to the government.
“This is not only expensive and drains the country’s meagre foreign exchange resources but also does not assure of one-time integrity of the samples due to the long procedures and bureaucracy encountered in transportation, customs clearances, and other various handling processes,” KEMRI noted.
“Quite frequently, due to this, multiple samples have to be collected at different times from the athlete increasing costs and inconveniences.”
At the same time, KEMRI hinted at a plan to set up similar facilities in Kirinyaga, Mandera and Kwale.
According to the Star, KEMRI and the County Government of Uasin Gishu are also negotiating to build a regional centre in Eldoret that will house a graduate school in addition to being used for research.