By John Kwoba
NAIROBI, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- In spite of getting clearance from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Kenyan athletes have been warned to be vigilant not to fall back to the cheating bracket.
Japhter Rugut, the head of Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK), said their efforts to get the country cleared of voluntary (State sanctioned) doping claims have bored fruit after WADA struck it off from IAAF doping watch-list before the London World Championships last month.
"This long process that we took to clear our name has been successful. But we need to be more vigilant than before not to fall back and derail the doping programs," said Rugut.
Kenya was declared fully compliant with the international code and the athletes can now complete globally with their pride knowing their performances is not doubted.
"We have reviewed all the documents provided and concluded that you have successfully addressed all critical and important corrective actions as outlined in the Final Audit Report," wrote lead auditor Kevin Haynes to ADAK.
Kenya was required to focus on the training of Blood Collection Officers and set up an anti-doping education work plan which would document and coordinate all education activities, including values-based education.
Haynes added WADA will continue to monitor the implementation of their reforms to their national anti-doping program.
However, Rugut identified the main challenge they face in the anti-doping war as the laborious process of transporting samples collected from rural areas, where majority of elite and upcoming athletes are based, to the capital Nairobi before they are sent to laboratories overseas for analysis.
"We are made to wait for long periods before receiving results," Rugut lamented.
Rugut said they will extend the anti-doping programs to other sporting disciplines outside athletics in the country.
Apart from the blood tests, athletes will also be subjected to a random out of competition urine tests where one will be ambushed without being notified in advance.
Kenya, Morocco, Ethiopia, Belarus and Ukraine were put in the IAAF watch list last year due to a spike in doping cases after WADA declared ADAK as non-compliant to the Anti-Doping Code.
Despite ADAK being given the all clear before the August Rio 2016 Olympics, the world governing body extended Kenya's stay in the watch list for another year, placing pressure on the East African distance running giant to clean up its sport.
Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jackson Tuwei said the close examination by the IAAF has helped in making the country compliant.