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ATHLETICS

Kenyan official fears IAAF Olympic ban is near

"My belief is they are preparing us for a ban... if they are able to ban Russia, what is so special about Kenya?" asks committee member.

Kenyan official fears IAAF Olympic ban is near
Ben Curtis AP

Athletics Kenya executive committee member Barnaba Korir said on Thursday he feared the the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) was preparing to ban the country to send the world a message about doping and corruption. "My belief is they [the IAAF] are preparing us for a ban... if they are able to ban Russia, what is so special about Kenya?" he told Reuters. "They want to send a message, a clear message, that if Kenya is banned the world will understand how serious they are."

Russia was banned from world athletics in November following allegations of widespread and state-sponsored doping in a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Sebastian Coe, head of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said earlier that the organisation would not shirk from its duty to ban Kenya from the Olympics if the country was declared non-compliant by WADA.

We know that a disproportionate amount of reputational damage is caused by a relatively few countries and we have to be much more proactive," Coe told BT Sport's the Clare Balding Show on Wednesday night.

"Yes, if it means pulling them out of World Championships or Olympic Games then we will have to do that. I know the World Anti-Doping Agency has looked very closely at the Kenyan National Anti-Doping Agency. We, of course, monitor that through the IAAF, so that work is ongoing."

"When you look at the horror show that has unfolded in the last six months, year or so, the question we all have to ask ourselves - and I'm not immune from that, I ask myself this every day - is how on earth did we get to this position?" Coe added.

However, other Athletics Kenya chiefs shrugged off warnings Thursday teams could be banned from the Rio Olympics if the federation is found to be non-compliant with WADA.

Athletics Kenya acting president Jackson Tuwei.

"Athletics Kenya is working closely with ADAK [Anti-Doping Association of Kenya], and since we have been given another two months we will work day and night to conform with the rules," Athletics Kenya acting president Jackson Tuwei said.

"It does not worry me now that we may face an Olympic ban, since ADAK is working out a policy bill which will be taken to parliament to be made into law. I am confident we will succeed."

Many in Kenya fear doping is rife among their top-class runners, who have been the source of enormous national pride. More than 40 Kenyan athletes have been suspended for doping in the past two years.

Kenya's situation was worsened earlier this week when Athletics Kenya chief executive Isaac Mwangi stepped aside to allow a probe into allegations he sought bribes from two suspended athletes, claims he denies.