Olympic 800 champ says lack of money adds to doping problems
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Olympic and world 800-meter champion David Rudisha said Wednesday a lack of money and testing infrastructure has made it difficult to fight doping in developing nations such as his home country Kenya.
More than 40 Kenyan athletes have tested positive to banned substances in the past three years, prompting the World Anti-Doping Agency to set an April 5 deadline for Kenya to pass legislation. At stake is the country's appearance at the Rio Olympics in August if the country is deemed to be non-complaint.
Rudisha, also the 800 world record holder, will compete in an IAAF World Challenge meet Saturday in Melbourne.
''It has been tough for our sport with the turbulence that we are going through,'' he said. ''This problem with doping is a big issue and I think it can also bring us together - the government and the federation need to work together with the athletes.''
Rudisha said a lack of infrastructure and funding for anti-doping in developing nations exacerbated the problem.
''There are thousands and thousands of Kenyans training out there and only a few of them are on the WADA list,'' he said. ''You can imagine how difficult it is. So far of about 40 Kenyan athletes who have been caught doping, only a few of them are elite athletes - two or three of them. So if you put it into a percentage for the elite ones it's very few.''
''But these up-and-coming and young athletes are a big problem because they are not known, nobody knows them and when they get out there and compete for a fast time they are being caught.''
Three of Athletics Kenya's most senior officials have been suspended by the International Association of Athletics Federations, pending investigations by its ethics committee over alleged doping cover-ups. AK President Isaiah Kiplagat, vice president David Okeyo and chief executive Isaac Mwangi are all under investigation, as is the federation's former treasurer.
Mwangi was placed under investigation after two athletes who failed doping tests alleged in an interview with The Associated Press that he tried to extort bribes totaling $48,000 from them in exchange for organizing lenient bans.
Rudisha said Athletics Kenya was trying to work with WADA and the IAAF.
''We don't have labs in Kenya so we depend on international labs and most of them are there to assess those who are elite and top of the world,'' he said. ''So what about the others who are running locally, who are training locally? Nobody knows them. It's a big challenge.''