May 9, 2018 / 8:36 PM / in 7 months

Athletics-Kenyan Olympic chief wants action to end "cancer" of doping

NAIROBI, May 9 (Reuters) - The President of Kenya's Olympic Committee has called for urgent measures to deal with what he described as the "cancer" of doping among athletes in the east African country.

Kenya, renowned for its distance running pedigree, has been tainted by a number of doping cases involving high-profile athletes in recent years.

“We need a deeper and genuine national conversation on this cancer within us. We must stop sweeping it under the carpet under the guise of confidentiality and expose it for what it is," Paul Tergat, President of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), said.

“I once again wish to repeat my previous call that this menace must be treated for what it is - a criminal act and all participants in the whole chain face the severest sanctions possible - whoever they may be - as provided in Law,” added Tergat, who was twice Olympic 10,000 metres silver medallist.

“As a former athlete, President of NOCK and IOC Member, I am most disturbed by these recent developments. It is telling me that whatever we have been doing is not delivering results and there is need to recalibrate our approach,” Tergat said in an address to athletes at a ceremony for Kenyan medallists from the recent Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Former Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop has tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO, the IAAF's Athletics Integrity Unit confirmed on Friday.

The 28-year-old three-times world champion was the latest among the over 50 Kenyan athletes who have failed doping tests, including 2016 Olympic marathon gold medallist Jemima Sumgong.

Kiprop has vowed to prove his innocence and his case is now with an IAAF tribunal.

Reporting by Isaack Omolu, Editing by Ed Osmond

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