Kenya’s ath­letes in dop­ing cross hairs but SA ‘is safe’

CityPress - - Sport - DANIEL MOTH­OWA­GAE dmoth­owa­gae@city­press.co.za

As the at­ten­tion of the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (Wada) shifts to Kenyan ath­let­ics, South Africa ought not to be en­tan­gled in the same mess as Rus­sia, which has been found in breach of Wada’s codes.

This is the as­sur­ance from Khalid Galant, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the SA In­sti­tute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids), in the wake of the All-Rus­sia Ath­letic Fed­er­a­tion’s pro­vi­sional ban from the sport af­ter al­le­ga­tions of sys­temic state-spon­sored dop­ing. There are fears that Kenya’s ath­letes are now sus­pects af­ter a spate of failed drug tests over the years, in­clud­ing two dop­ing vi­o­la­tions at the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions (IAAF) World Cham­pi­onships in Bei­jing, China, in Au­gust, where the east African na­tion topped the medals ta­ble.

Although Saids is funded by gov­ern­ment, Galant said it re­mained in­de­pen­dent on a man­age­ment and op­er­a­tional level.

“The struc­ture of our sport, and how Saids as an anti-dop­ing agency is po­si­tioned, is dif­fer­ent to Rus­sia,” he said.

“If you read the Wada in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion’s re­port, you will de­duce that a loose ar­range­ment around the in­de­pen­dence of the anti-dop­ing au­thor­ity was a key in­gre­di­ent in the break­down of their [Rus­sia’s] dop­ing­con­trol sys­tem.”

The Wada re­port nailed Rus­sian ath­let­ics on the ba­sis that its state se­cu­rity ser­vices were col­lud­ing with the coun­try’s ath­let­ics fed­er­a­tion to al­low ath­letes to take per­for­manceen­hanc­ing drugs with­out fear of be­ing tested.

Now the Rus­sians need to prove to the IAAF that they can op­er­ate with­out in­ter­fer­ence from state se­cu­rity ser­vices if the coun­try is re­in­stated in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

“In South Africa, we have a min­is­ter of sport, who is com­mit­ted to en­forc­ing the world anti-dop­ing code, we have Sas­coc [the SA Sports Con­fed­er­a­tion and Olympic Com­mit­tee] and var­i­ous na­tional fed­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing Ath­let­ics SA, who re­spect the in­de­pen­dence and au­ton­omy of Saids,” he said.

Galant said the Saids lab­o­ra­tory in Bloem­fontein was in­de­pen­dent and “does not ac­count to Saids, but to the vicechan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity of the Free State”.

The lab is one of 35 ac­cred­ited lab­o­ra­to­ries around the world that con­duct hu­man dop­ing-con­trol sam­ple analy­ses – and the only one in Africa. Most sub-Sa­ha­ran African na­tions have their sam­ples an­a­lysed in Bloem­fontein.

Rus­sia’s state-funded lab in Moscow is al­leged to have not op­er­ated in­de­pen­dently and is not sub­ject to any pres­sures re­gard­ing the nondis­clo­sure of pos­i­tive sam­ples.

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