Kenyan Sports Minister Amina Mohamed said Tuesday that Kenya plans to impose criminal penalties including possible prison sentences for any doping athlete, adding that she is currently working on new legislation.
Kenya is known for its long and medium distance athletes, but has faced a series of doping athlete scandals over the past five years.
The Kenyan minister said her team was working on legislation aimed at criminalizing doping by mid-2020.
“We give this issue the priority it deserves,” she told reporters.
Current Kenyan law provides prison terms of up to three years for any person on the athlete’s support team found guilty of doping. But the penalty does not apply to athletes.
The original bill, announced in 2016 when Kenya faced the prospect of being excluded from the Rio Olympics because of the widespread doping, provides for fines and prison terms for athletes as well. But these texts were softened.
A WADA report published in September 2018 reported 138 positive doping athlete cases for athletes from Kenya from 2004 to August 2018.
Among the names punished for doping in Kenya are 2008 Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop, 1500 meters marathon champion Jemima Sumjong and three-time Boston Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo.
The IAAF Integrity Unit is closely monitoring developments in Nairobi, a senior official said on Tuesday.