Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco being closely monitored by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has been strongly opposed by the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), the organisation has announced following a meeting of its Council in Yaoundé.
Concerns have arisen within world athletics’ governing body that the three African countries, along with Belarus and the Ukraine, are not doing enough drugs testing in and out of competition.
They are all going to have their anti-doping programmes scrutinised by the IAAF.
At a meeting of the IAAF Council in Monte Carlo, President Sebastian Coe, who was in attendance in the Cameroonian capital for the gathering of the CAA Council, revealed Ethiopia and Morocco are among countries in “critical care” and must seriously improve.
The countries are not in danger of missing out on participation at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, according to the Briton.
IAAF anti-doping manager Thomas Capdevielle had warned the organisation’s ruling Council that they were concerned about the level of doping within Ethiopia and Morocco in particular.
Kenya, who topped the medals table at last year’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, are also facing the threat of sanctions from World Anti-Doping Agency following the country’s failure to set up a proper National Anti-Doping Organisation.
More than 40 Kenyan athletes have become embroiled in drug scandals in three years and Athletics Kenya chief executive Isaac Mwangi has been suspended for corruption involving cover-ups.
Ethiopia and Morocco consistently rank among the top countries in the world for middle and long-distance running.
Recent Ethiopian doping cases include last year’s Tokyo Marathon winner Endeshaw Negesse, one of nine Ethiopian athletes being probed over doping and who tested positive for meldonium, which was added to WADA’s prohibited list on January 1 following an extensive period of monitoring.
Morocco has long been plagued by accusations that many of its top runners have used banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Four years ago, on the eve of the 2012 Olympics in London, 1500m hopefuls Amine Laalou and Mariem Alaoui Selsouli were suspended following positive drugs tests.
But the CAA, led by President Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, remain united behind their three Member Federations.
“The CAA requests the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the African Union (AU) to provide all the necessary support to the implementation in each country, of the conditions necessary to protect clean athletes,” the body said in a statement detailing the outcomes of its Council meeting.
“From this perspective, the CAA is against the unilateral suspension and without discrimination of targeted countries (Ethiopia, Kenya and Morocco).”
The governing body for Athletics in Africa has urged its Member Federations to make the fight against doping a “priority” as the issue continues to plague the sport as a whole.
The CAA also called for the respective countries to tackle “irresponsible exploitation” of the athletes by people around them, such as managers and agents, “in order to protect their interests and dignity”.
The CAA Council has confirmed it is fully behind Coe’s reform plans, aimed at restoring the reputation of world athletics’ governing body, which were approved at the Council meeting in Monte Carlo last week.
The IAAF has already suspended Russia following the publication of the WADA Independent Commission report which claimed there was evidence of state-supported doping, jeopardizing their participation at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
- By Liam Morgan
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz