The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) has requested African governments to invest more resources in the fight against doping to ensure that the continent eradicates the vice, promotes clean sports and abides by the internationally set standards by global stakeholders in the sports industry such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Addressing participants during the first Africa Anti-Doping Think Tank Forum in Seychelles, ADAK Chief Executive Officer Japhter Rugut emphasized the need for African governments to enact the necessary laws aimed at promoting clean sports. He also reiterated that African governments should invest more in the establishment of National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) which are the internationally accepted bodies that are mandated to undertake anti-doping activities in collaboration with other global establishments.
“The Kenyan case is unique in many ways since our position as a sporting powerhouse especially in athletics has catapulted us to the world map which means greater scrutiny of our record-shattering athletes. This meant that without vibrant anti-doping activities Kenya would be declared non-compliant to the World Anti-Doping Code by WADA and subsequently barred from participating in any international competition. The President, Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, personally led the tedious legal process that saw the establishment of ADAK when he assented to the Anti-Doping Act, 2016. He was always keenly following up the whole process demonstrating his commitment to the promotion of clean sports in Kenya,” revealed Mr. Rugut.
During the meeting the Chief Executive explained how, together with other government officials, they had to work round the clock to ensure compliance to the World Anti-Doping Code so that the country could take part in the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“We were almost being declared non-compliant weeks to the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil. WADA had given us a set of requirements which needed to be fulfilled for us to be allowed to take part in the global sporting event. I am glad that the government threw its full weight behind our efforts and within a short period we had surpassed the targets by WADA. As a clear indication of the government’s commitment to anti-doping activities parliament was recalled from recess to debate the anti-doping bill after which we shared it with WADA. While the whole process was involving, we are glad that finally ADAK was established and it continues to undertake anti-doping activities in line with the World Anti-Doping Code,” said Rugut.
The WADA Director, Africa Region, Rodney Swigelaar lauded Kenya’s effort in setting up ADAK while noting that the country is a perfect example for other African countries who are yet to establish their National Anti-Doping Organizations. “We held a series of meetings in Nairobi, Johannesburg and Montreal with the Kenya Government officials led by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts Hassan Wario so as to ensure that the country established ADAK. Kenya is a leading example on how African governments can dedicate resources, financial and otherwise, to the promotion of clean sport. Kenya has also been instrumental in the establishment of other NADOs within the East African region as it hosts the WADA Zone V Regional Anti-Doping Organization (RADO) offices.” Said Swigelaar.
The Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya Chief Executive Officer has been invited to the meeting to describe the journey that Kenya undertook to establish ADAK. Among those in attendance is the WADA Director General, Oliver Niggli, and Seychelles Vice President Vincent Meriton, Seychelles Minister for Sports, Youth and Culture Mitcy Larne and Namibia’s Deputy Minister for Sport, Youth and National Service Agnes Tjongarero.
The Africa Anti-Doping Think Tank Forum has been organized by the African Union Commission and it brings together African Ministers of Sports and Culture, National Anti-Doping Organizations, WADA and other global stakeholders in the sports industry. The resolutions of the meeting will be tabled at the African Union meeting of African Sports and Culture Ministers scheduled to be held in June next year.