By Giwa SHILE
The laboratory in Kenya will be the first to receive World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) approval in East Africa, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said Monday.
The Nairobi lab will operational from early September for blood analyses and other tests including the anti-doping programme of the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya.
Kipyegon Bett became the latest Kenyan athlete to have a positive test for doping revealed this year when the AIU announced his case on Sunday.
The 20-year-old 2017 world bronze medallist over 800 metres had already been suspended for avoiding doping checks.
Bett’s sample tested positive for the blood-booster EPO, following Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic and three-time world champion over 1,500m, who had a positive test for the same substance revealed in May.
According to the AIU, the laboratory is expected to analyse between 800 and 1,000 blood samples a year as part of doping control for Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Eritrea.
“From now on, the analyses of blood samples will be performed locally,” Brett Clothier, head of the AIU, said in a statement.
“This will give us more efficiency, more responsiveness and less predictability in our testing programme in the region and a foothold in neighbouring countries where it was extremely difficult to collect blood samples in the past.”
Previously samples from East Africa were transported to anti-doping laboratories in Europe or South Africa for analysis, a practice which was expensive hard to achieve within the required time frame.
The lab in Nairobi does not have full WADA accreditation but for “cost and geographic access reasons,” certain facilities can be approved to perform “particular analyses,” the AIU said.