To address doping within its world-beating running culture , the Kenyan government has created a task force to look into the use of performance-enhancing drugs among local athletes.
According to sports commissioner Gordon Oluoch, the budget has been approved and work is scheduled to begin next week.
The decision comes after a scandal last fall when German journalist Haji Seppelt accused doctors in various clinics of providing Kenyan athletes with performance-enhancing drugs in return for a percentage of their earnings.
Seppelt broke the story after spending months in Kenya’s high-altitude camps working undercover as a sports agent. Mathew Kisorio, the famous Kenya half-marathoner, confirmed the information, tested positive for banned substances and admitted using blood-boosting drugs.
Six Kenyan officers will be trained at a four-day workshop in Nairobi this week with the help of top doping officials from around Africa. Until now, Kenya had only one qualified doping control officer and the country’s anti-doping agency was stunted due to its legal framework and understaffing.
The International Association of Athletes Federation also stepped up to help monitor Kenyan runners. The organization conducted Kenya’s first blood-doping tests outside of competition last week. Previously, athletes were only given urine tests. Because of the rural location of training camps, it was difficult to get blood samples to an accredited lab for testing within the required 36 hours.