NEWS
02/18/2016 10:30 EST | Updated 02/18/2017 00:12 EST

Coe: IAAF could suspend Kenya if it violates doping rules

LONDON — Track and field's governing body is prepared to ban Kenyan athletes from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro if the country fails to comply with global anti-doping rules, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said.

The IAAF has already suspended Russia's track and field program from global competition, and now Kenya could be at risk of the same sanction.

The IAAF's ethics commission is investigating alleged extortion and doping coverups in Kenya involving top officials. The World Anti-Doping Agency has also put Kenya on notice that it could be declared non-compliant with the global anti-doping code.

"We know that a disproportionate amount of reputational damage is caused by a relatively few countries and we have to be very much more proactive," Coe told British television network BT Sport when asked about investigations into Kenya. "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," Coe added in the interview, which was being aired Friday night.

Former marathon world record-holder Wilson Kipsang is urging the Kenyan government to implement the necessary measures, including fast-tracking legislation criminalizing doping.

"We must all step up the fight against doping because if we are banned, Kenya will never be the same again," Kipsang was quoted as saying by Kenya's Daily Nation.

"This is a country which has made its name as an athletics giant. We have done well in the Olympic and world championships and therefore, we should not miss out complying with the doping directives."

Earlier this week, the chief executive of Kenya's track and field federation took temporary leave after two athletes alleged in an interview with The Associated Press that he asked them for a bribe to reduce their doping bans.

The Associated Press