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UK anti-doping agrees deal to help improve Kenya's drug-testing regime

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has signed a one-year agreement to provide advice and training to its Kenyan counterpart, the British agency has confirmed.

A five-strong team has gone to Nairobi this week to start training Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) staff.

The idea will be similar to the work UKAD has already completed in Belarus and continues to do in Russia, where the anti-doping agency has been suspended since late 2015 after its involvement in a state-sponsored doping conspiracy was uncovered.

The situation in Kenyan is almost as grave as that, with dozens of Kenyan athletes caught cheating in recent years, although very few of them by their national agency.

Having narrowly avoided being barred from the last Olympics, Kenyan athletics was rocked last month when former Olympic and world 1,500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop tested positive for the blood-booster EPO.

UKAD, which has been asked by the UK government to generate more commercial revenue, was already in talks with ADAK about how it could help them train its doping-control officers and run a more strategic programme before the Kiprop scandal broke but there is now a real sense of urgency to tackle the problem.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said the deal with ADAK would not distract the agency from its main priority of fighting doping in this country and would be paid for by the Kenyan authorities.

"This isn't about being a do-gooder - there's a clear benefit for our athletes from this work in that we are helping to level the playing field," she said.

[quote]There are other anti-doping agencies that could do this work but if nobody else is doing it we will fill the breach - we'll go wherever we have the capacity to go and there is a will for us to help.[/quote]

Sapstead admitted that this kind of international consultancy work fitted in with the government's post-Brexit plans but said that any additional revenue the agency earns were "happy by-products" of its central mission to protect clean athletes.

She also denied that it would mean UKAD will test British athletes who train in Kenya any less but said she hoped that, by improving ADAK's ability to test all the athletes under its watch, the overall deterrence level will rise.

Numerous British athletes, including Sir Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe, have used Kenya's Eldoret and Iten as winter training bases in the past.

In a statement, ADAK boss Japhter Rugut said: "The agency will benefit a great deal from the partnership with UKAD, which will be actualised through the training targeting our doping control officers and members of the therapeutic use exemption committee.

"This training will go a long way in enhancing the capacity of our personnel as they continue discharging their duties in line with our strategic mandate and the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Code."