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Wednesday 2 March 2016 10.50 GMT Last modified on Wednesday 2 March 2016 11.22 GMT
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Kenya’s doping problems were caused by “foolish” young athletes desperate to win races and cash in on the sport, David Rudisha said on Wednesday, but the Olympic 800m champion hopes his country is on the road to restoring its reputation.
The 27-year-old, who lit up the 2012 London Games with a brilliant world record performance in the 800m final, has been distressed by the allegations of doping and corruption that have hit his country’s athletics programme.
Kenya has been hugely successful in middle- and long-distance running for decades and remains a global leader on the track and in city marathons, but 40 of its athletes have been banned for doping in the past three years.
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The World Anti-Doping Agency has given the country an April deadline to implement new anti-doping measures or risk non-compliance, which could pave the way for a ban on its track and field athletes competing at the Rio Olympics.
“It’s really sad, it’s really unfortunate that this is happening because Kenya previously has a really good reputation,” reigning world champion Rudisha said in an interview in Melbourne on Wednesday.
“And for many years Kenya has been doing well on the athletics stage, winning championships without this problem. A few years ago this problem has been coming. But it’s really tough. Because these young athletes who are desperate to make money, to win races, they end up being fools and getting into these drugs.”
Allegations of corruption also hit the national governing body, mirroring the wider scandal that plunged the International Association of Athletics Federations into crisis last year and triggered Russia’s suspension from international athletics.
The Athletics Kenya chief executive Isaac Mwangi was provisionally suspended by the IAAF last week after two local athletes accused him of seeking bribes to reduce doping bans. Three other senior AK officials were suspended in November, including the former president Isaiah Kiplagat, over corruption allegations.