ANTI-DOPING RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR ATHLETES IN KENYA
The Summer Olympic Games that were held in Tokyo, Japan from 23rd July 2021 to 8th August 2021 came with both good and bad news for Kenya as a sub-Saharan country. Though Kenya emerged top in Africa, it came under spotlight when one of her athletes was reported and even barred from participating in the said Olympic games on suspicion of using banned doping substances. This article highlights some of the key anti-doping rules in Kenya and how proceedings are conducted in the event an athlete is found to have violated the rules.
To begin with, it is important to note that the anti-doping regulation in Kenya was enacted in 2020 to repeal the 2016 regulations and bring on board the World Anti-Doping Rules recognized worldwide. This was to enable Kenya meet the universal anti-doping requirements.
The following are some of the key rules provided under the regulations:
- That it is the athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his/her body and that athletes are responsible for any prohibited substance found to be present in their Samples.
- Evading sample collection or refusing or failing to submit to sample collection without compelling justification after notification by a duly authorized person is a violation of the anti-doping rules.
- Tampering or attempting to tamper with any part of doping control by an athlete is a violation of anti-doping rules.
- Possession by an athlete in-competition of any prohibited substance or any prohibited method, or possession by an athlete out of competition of any prohibited substance or any prohibited method which is prohibited out of competition is a violation of the rules.
- Trafficking or attempting to traffic any prohibited substance or prohibited method by an athlete is a violation of the rules; and
- Any act which threatens or seeks to intimidate another person with the intent of reporting information that relates to an alleged Anti-Doping rule violation is a violation of the rules.
The rules give the Anti-Doping Authority of Kenya the mandate to conduct testing of samples from any athlete over whom it has testing authority.
Upon obtaining the samples the authority shall analyze the same in an accredited laboratory. After analyzing the sample, the authority shall then provide notice to an athlete so affected of a potential Anti-Doping rule violation and then diligently pursues that violation.
Once an anti-doping rule violation has been established; a Mandatory Provisional Suspension shall be imposed on the Athlete after being given an opportunity to put forth his/her defense.
A mandatory provisional suspension may be eliminated if the athlete demonstrates to the authority’s hearing panel that the violation is likely to have involved a contaminated product or the violation involves a substance of abuse and the athlete establishes entitlement to a reduced period of ineligibility under the rules.
The authority shall then establish a hearing panel with jurisdiction to hear and determine whether an athlete, subject to Anti-doping Rules, has committed an Anti-doping rule violation and, if so, impose relevant consequences.
After the hearing, the authority shall notify its decision to the athlete and to other Anti-doping Organizations. The decision may be appealed to another body called anti-doping appeal panel but the hearing panel’s decision not to eliminate a mandatory provisional suspension on account of the athlete’s assertion regarding a contaminated product shall not be appealable.
Consequence of violating the rules
An Anti-Doping rule violation in individual sports automatically leads to disqualification of the result obtained in that competition with all resulting consequences, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes.
Where the athlete admits an anti-doping rule violation after being confronted with the anti-doping rule violation by the authority and agrees to the consequences acceptable to the authority, then: (a) the athlete may receive a reduction in the period of Ineligibility based on an assessment by the authority or (b) the period of ineligibility may start as early as the date of sample collection or the date on which another anti-doping rule violation last occurred.
The authority may also recover prize money that may have been won by the athlete as a result of an anti-doping rule violation and it shall take reasonable measures to allocate and distribute this prize money to the athletes who would have been entitled to them had the forfeiting athlete not competed.
Finally, the authority may also impose a fine on the athlete in an amount up to Ksh. 500,000.00 only in cases where the maximum period of Ineligibility otherwise applicable has already been imposed.
For any inquiries relating to doping proceedings and compliance, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.