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Wada grants Kenya further period of grace, Ethiopia to carry out new testing

The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has given Kenya a one-month extension to comply with its anti-doping rules, while Ethiopia has been ordered to carry out doping tests on up to 200 athletes by November, or face further action.

Last month, Wada handed Kenya a deadline of April 5 to comply with its code, after the Kenyan government failed to pass appropriate legislation and provide adequate funding to allow the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to bolster its operations by an initial February 11 deadline.

The Wada Independent Compliance Review Committee had been due to review the matter this week at its latest meeting but will now give Kenya until May 2 to bring legislation in line with the Wada Code.

“The Committee concluded that the current situation is not in compliance with the 2015 Code, since the bill, policy and ADAK rules have not yet been formally adopted,” Wada said in a statement. “Unless the bill, policy and ADAK rules are formally adopted by 2 May 2016, the Compliance Review Committee’s recommendation to the WADA Foundation Board will be to declare the ADAK non-compliant.”

Should Kenya not meet regulations by this date, the country’s athletes may be prevented from competing at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Wada Foundation Board will vote on the matter as its next meeting on May 12.

In response to the new deadline, an ADAK source told the Reuters news agency: “We have been given a one-month extension by WADA…we are proceeding to Mombasa to consult with the Parliamentary Committee on Labour and Sports so that when the bill comes for a second reading … we will be on the same page. We have no doubt things will be fine.”

Meanwhile, Wada has issued a warning to Ethiopia, another nation that has come under fire in recent months over its anti-doping measures, that it must carry out mass tests on athletes by November of this year or risk further sanctions.

Last month, the Ethiopian Anti-Doping Agency revealed nine of the country’s top runners were under investigation for doping, with Ethiopian-born 1500 metres champion Abeba Aregawi, who now competes for Sweden, being suspended after testing positive for a banned substance.

Wada has now ordered the country to carry out tests on between 150 and 200 of its athletes, or face being declared non-compliant with the Wada Code. Ethiopia’s team doctor Ayalew Tilahun told Reuters the tests will cost the country between 2.5m birr (€103,300/$117,400) and 3m birr, but is confident that it will meet the deadline.

“Seventy-five percent of the tests will be taken within three months,” Tilahun said. “We will move fast. It is a question of life or death for the sport in our country.”

Ethiopia and Kenya have been singled out along with Morocco, Ukraine and Belarus by IAAF president Sebastian Coe as nations that need “critical care” due to the state of their anti-doping measures. Russia is also currently serving a global ban from all competitions after the discovery of a state-sponsored doping regime and corruption within its athletics system.