IAAF chief Coe ready to ban Kenya athletics team from Rio Olympics: it would be a disaster

Kenya last week missed a deadline to prove to the World Anti-Doping Agency that they were doing enough to combat drug-taking

KENYA athletics team could be banned from the Rio Olympics if their federation is found to be non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, according to IAAF president Sebastian Coe.

Coe has confirmed he will severely punish any country guilty of attempting to cover up doping, after Kenya last week missed a deadline to prove to WADA they were doing enough to combat drug-taking.

“We know that a disproportionate amount of reputational damage is caused by a relatively few countries and we have to be much more proactive,” Coe told BT Sport’s the Clare Balding Show on Wednesday night.

“Yes, if it means pulling them out of World Championships or Olympic Games then we will have to do that.

“I know the World Anti-Doping Agency has looked very closely at the Kenyan National Anti-Doping Agency. We, of course, monitor that through the IAAF, so that work is ongoing.”

Any such action would be a disaster for Kenya where its global image, and the livelihoods of thousands of people, especially in the Rift Valley where most of the leading runners come from, is tied to the global athletics economy.

Russia were suspended from world athletics in November for state-sponsored doping, but are aiming to prove they have made the requisite changes before the Rio Games.

With the scandal deepening, two-time Olympic champion Coe admits his own reputation may now be on the line.

“When you look at the horror show that has unfolded in the last six months, year or so, the question we all have to ask ourselves - and I’m not immune from that, I ask myself this every day - is how on earth did we get to this position?” he said.

“The guiding principle for me is to get the right people with the right motives in the sport, and by a distance they are there. We’ve just got to elevate them now.”

Nestle and adidas have both tried to end sponsorship deals with the IAAF, which has vowed to keep the companies on side.

“They want to know what changes I am prepared to make,” Coe added.

“Am I serious about that? Yes, I am. Is it the only thing I’m focused on? Yes. Will we get those in place as quickly as we can? Yes, we will.

“But they have boards of shareholders, they have corporate governances themselves, so they are asking the right questions and a large part of my waking hours is flying around the world explaining to them why it is my intention to never return to this again.”

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