Kenya is not at risk of being suspended from Rio 2016 despite having been declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has said today.
The non-compliance decision was announced yesterday at a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Foundation Board meeting in Montreal because "outstanding issues had still not been addressed".
This came after the African nation's continued failure to adopt WADA-compliant anti-doping procedures, despite a new bill criminalising doping having been introduced into Parliament.
Anti-doping programmes need to be “significantly strengthened by the end of the current year,” the IAAF said in a statement today, adding that Kenya remains on a "monitoring list" of countries with problems.
But athletes will remain eligible for competition throughout this period.
“During the monitoring process … Kenyan athletes remain eligible to compete nationally and internationally,” a statement explained.
More stringent action, including a possible suspension, is likely next year if improvements are not made.
The organisation added that WADA's decision “is a further reflection of the IAAF’s concerns about the level of commitment to anti-doping at the national level in Kenya".
Kenyan athletes are currently more tested than those of any other country, they claimed.
WADA does not have the authority to actively introduce a suspension, but the decision regarding Rio 2016 can still be overturned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
It is considered unlikely for them to push for a suspension, however.
This comes as the All-Russia Athletics Federations remains suspended by the IAAF and in-line to miss the Games.
Kenya, an athletics powerhouse which topped the medals table at last year's World Championships in Beijing, is another country frequently linked to doping problems.
Around 40 from the country have tested positive for banned drugs since 2012.
Three-times Boston Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo, who failed for erythropoietin in 2014, is the most high profile casualty and the only one of the nation's star names of recent years to be implicated.
Kenya has been told by WADA what exactly still needs to be done, the country's Sports Minister Hassan Wario said today.
They are now in the process of finalising necessary changes.
“As soon as Parliament reviews those highlighted bits of the legislation we are fully compliant,” Wario told reporters.
"No ban was mentioned in the body of the letter [from WADA].”