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Athletics: Kenya to set up doping test centre

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Kenya's athletics boss said Thursday the country will soon set up its first doping test lab amid efforts by the distance running giant to shake off allegations it was failing to tackle cheats.

Officials from the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) and the IAAF are also due in Kenya next week to help establish the centre, Athletics Kenya president Isaiah Kiplagat told AFP.

The delegation will include Gabriel Dolle, the director of the IAAF Medical and Anti-Doping Department.

"We will have to liaise with the relevant authorities in the government in the building of the laboratory. Depending on the logistics, we hope it will fully operational by January next year," Kiplagat said.

He said the new centre will act as a regional blood and urine collection and analysis point.

"Nairobi has been chosen because it is more central. It is intended to serve not only Kenya but the rest of the region," Kiplagat said.

Kenya has been under pressure to act on the issue of doping since a German television investigation last year alleged that banned drugs including the blood booster EPO were readily available.

Since January 2012, increased tests have netted 17 Kenyan cheats. While none of them have been big-name record breakers, the findings have contradicted previous assertions from Athletics Kenya that its runners are spotless.

Earlier this month and under pressure from WADA, Kenya named a special task force to probe the allegations.

The allegations have cast a shadow over Kenya, famed for its record-breaking runners who hold world records from the 800m through to the marathon and where running is a major source of national pride and, in some communities, an important source of income.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131128/athletics-kenya-set-doping-test-centre