IOC President Thomas Bach warned African NOCs about the vital need to clamp-down on doping ©IOC

"Extra effort" must be taken to improve anti-doping programmes ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has told delegates attending the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) General Assembly in Port Louis today.

NOCs must strive harder to catch cheats, he warned, or all teams risk being tainted and associated with cheating. 

"I would really encourage you all to make an extra effort into your anti-doping programme before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro," the German said during his address at the annual meeting in Mauritius' capital.

"You can win all the medals you were dreaming, but if one of these victories is tinged with scandal for doping, then all your medals and all your athletes are tainted, and the honest athletes do not deserve this. 

"You must protect the integrity of your athletes' Olympic delegation in making the fight against doping a priority.

"You must try to catch cheaters before the Olympic Games in Rio so they are punished, so that they are exposed, and to show that you hunt down cheaters to protect athletes who play by the rules."

Thomas Bach pictured with ANOCA President, Lassana Palenfo ©Getty Images
Thomas Bach pictured with ANOCA President, Lassana Palenfo ©Getty Images

Suspicions over widespread doping has increased in recent weeks following publication of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Independent Commission's report, which confirmed allegations of systemic doping within Russian athletics.

Greater light has been shone on problems in other countries, including in Kenya, where 38 athletes have tested positive for banned substances in recent months.

WADA has threatened the nation with expulsion from the Games if "unsatisfactory" answers are given in response to questioning over problems.

No African nations have yet been sanctioned by WADA, but athletes from multiple other countries in the continent have tested positive in recent years.

Bach was speaking to representatives from all 54 African NOCs at the beginning of the meeting chaired by Ivory Coast's ANOCA President Lassana Palenfo.

Recent scandals have also shone a light onto administrative corruption within the Olympic Movement.

Lamine Diack, Senegal's former International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) head who is one of Africa's best known sporting officials, was arrested last month by Interpol after accusations he accepted bribes to cover-up doping.

Senegalese official Lamine Diack is at the centre of corruption allegations engulfing the IAAF ©Getty Images
Senegalese official Lamine Diack is at the centre of corruption allegations engulfing the IAAF ©Getty Images

Continental bodies must strive to maintain the credibility of sports competitions and sports organisations, Bach claimed, adding: "You can not separate the two".

"I do not tire of repeating that we must strive, in agreement with the Olympic Agenda 2020, to safeguard the credibility of sport because it is the only way we will win our own credibility. 

"Only then will the message we pass through the Olympic Games, through the athletes, through our values, be credible."

Each NOC must "look closely at their organisation, to identify possible measures to be taken and areas where change might be needed", he urged. 

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