NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenyan lawmakers supported proposed changes to anti-doping legislation at a special sitting of parliament on Thursday in the hope that WADA will accept the law this time.
The lawmakers were brought off vacation to push through the changes. The legislation must also pass through the senate, which is expected to happen on Tuesday, and ultimately be signed into law by the president.
Kenya was forced to make the changes after the World Anti-Doping Agency rejected an initial law, and declared the East African nation non-compliant. That meant the suspension of Kenya’s entire drug-testing program three months before the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
A Kenyan delegation flew to Canada last week to meet with WADA officials and work out a roadmap for the country to become compliant with global anti-doping regulations.
Kenyan sports minister Hassan Wario said WADA had problems with a number of areas of the original legislation, including a clause calling for jail terms for athletes guilty of doping. WADA doesn’t agree with jailing athletes for doping, preferring them to be sanctioned with bans through sports bodies.
The lawmakers debated and agreed on 24 changes to the legislation on Thursday.
This comes news this week that Spanish hurdler Josephine Onyia and 14 more Russian athletes were reported to have failing test results from 2008 samples.
The Spanish Olympic Committee said it was informed by the International Olympic Committee “about an alleged adverse result for a Spanish athlete who participated in the 2008 Games,” but could not confirm that it was Onyia who failed the test. Citing privacy reasons, it said it couldn’t even confirm the sport of the person caught on the reanalysis of the samples.
Ten medalists from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including 2012 high jump champion Anna Chicherova, were among 14 Russians that tested positive in the reanalysis of their doping samples, state television reported Tuesday.
Match TV said 11 of the 14 athletes on its retest list are from track and field, including 4×100-meter relay gold medalist Yulia Chermoshanskaya. The others are two weightlifters and a rower.
Separately, the Russian track federation said it would ban former dopers from the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in the hope of getting its team reinstated for the games. The IAAF suspended the track federation from global competition after a World Anti-Doping Agency commission report detailed state-sponsored doping.
Russia has included Maria Sharapova on its preliminary team for the Olympic tennis tournament in August despite her provisional suspension for failing a drug test.
Sharapova has been suspended since March after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open in January, but the Russian Tennis Federation hopes she could be cleared in time to play in Rio de Janeiro.