•The new anti-doping law also ensures the continued participation of Kenyan athletes in local, regional and international competitions in line with the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention against doping in sports.
•Kenya has had a high profile list of athletes who have been in contravention of anti-doping rules, most notably, 2016 Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong, former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang, former world 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi, former Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, 2017 London marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru, among others.
Kenya sportspersons can now rest easy after President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Anti-Doping (Amendment) Bill, 2020 into law.
The new law amends the Anti-Doping Act of 2016 to align Kenya's legislative framework with the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency codes and regulations.
Kenya was among countries at risk of being barred from all local, regional and international competitions had it not passed the amended law by December 31, 2020, in line with the UNESCO Convention against doping in sports.
It has been a long-winding process to amend the bill, which underwent deliberations in both chambers of the legislature.
The National Assembly passed the bill on December 22 while the Senate passed it on December 29, 2020, before it was presented to the President for signing on Thursday.
Head of Athletics Kenya youth development Barnaba Korir termed President Uhuru's move as a win for Kenyan athletes.
“This is a step in the right direction. Athletics Kenya and the Ministry of Sports have been pushing for this bill to go through to safeguard our athletes and to conform the country to the WADA code,” Korir said.
He added that the new law strengthens the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya to fight the vice going forward.
“Now ADAK have been given more powers to fight the vice and ensure that our athletes compete clean in future international assignments. The amendments put on notice pharmacists, managers, agents and coaches in the war against doping," he said.
The new code — developed in December 2019 — contains the 2021 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods, the summary of major modifications and explanatory notes; and the 2021 Monitoring Programme.
Among the additions to the anti-doping law is more powers to the Sports Tribunal to hear and determine cases on anti-doping rule violations by national and lower level athletes and athlete support personnel.
The new law also outlines other persons subject to the anti-doping rules and anti-doping rule violations arising from national and lower-level events.
Kenya has had a high profile list of athletes who have been in contravention of anti-doping rules, most notably, 2016 Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong, former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang, former world 1,500m champion Elijah Manangoi, former Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, 2017 London marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru, among others.