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Kenya Olympic dreams fade after new doping claims

media Kenya's Sports Minister Hassan Wario addresses a news conference on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recommendations that judged Kenya as non-compliant with the WADA code, in the capital Nairobi, May 13, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Thirty one Olympic hopefuls from Kenya and Russia may miss out on this summer's Olympic Games games in Rio de Janeiro after drug samples from the 2008 Beijing Games were tested again. The measures are part of a major doping crackdown to clean up the athletics before the games kick off in August.

After doubts over the participation of steeplechase silver medallist Conseslus Kipruto in this summer's Rio Olympics, there are now question marks hanging over Eliud Kipchoge and Jemima Sumgong.

The winners of last month's London marathon are among thirty one athletes facing a ban in the Rio Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is re-examining samples from the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the London games in 2012.

In an opinion piece in French daily Le Monde, International Olympic president Thomas Bach, said there would  be zero tolerance for dope cheats in this summer's games.

The measures are part of a major doping crackdown, already begun last week by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

WADA suspended Kenya's anti-doping agency after ruling that a new law passed there to combat doping was "a complete mess."

That decision cast doubt on whether Kenya would compete at all in Rio, paving the way for other nations to potentially emerge victorious.

The latest moves by the Olympics Committee to potentially suspend further athletes, has been received with great disappointment at home, explains Nairobi-based finance expert Aly Khan Satchu.

"A lot of the general public thought that we would be able to swing it, and that WADA and the International Olympic Committee would back down," he told RFI.

Forty Kenyan athletes have tested positive since 2011, all but five of them caught outside their home country. For Satchu, the latest allegations underscore the scale of doping in Kenya.

"I don't think the authorities dealt with the problem with the seriousness that they could have done. Kenyans identify a lot with athletes here, so I think the news is still sinking in," he said.

Meanwhile, on the Russian side, authorities there have pledged to comply with WADA officials, after they opened a fresh investigation following new allegations about the country's doping culture.

Last week, a whistleblower alleged that Russian secret service agents helped to cover-up drug cheats in Sochi. Allegations vehemently denied by Moscow.

Kenya and Russia between them won 27 medals at the last Olympics in both track and field. Their suspension is likely to benefit medal-starved countries like India.

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