PED testing begins in Kenya’s Rift Valley

The IAAF starts testing elite athletes out-of-competition in the region for the first time ever.

Things haven’t quite been the same in the Rift Valley since a German reporter started asking questions there last year.

The resulting television documentary suggested that performance enhancing drugs were being dolled out by local doctors in a region that produces more world class runners than anywhere else on earth.

In early January, the IAAF announced that it would begin testing elite Kenyan athletes in the area. These tests were carried out last week. This is the first time ever that tests have been conducted on Kenyan runners out of competition.

The IAAF’s decision to move swiftly on the matter was at the behest of the World Anti Doping Agency, who called for an immediate investigation after the German reports came out.

Until recently, it was very challenging for the IAAF to get the tests out of the remote Kenyan region in the 36-hour window needed in order to delivery the tests to Switzerland. These recent tests were apparently successful, and will be compared to athlete’s pre-existing biological passports from in-competition testing.

Although the German reports made international headlines, there have been few Kenyan runners of note to test positive. Last year, top half-marathoner Mathew Kisorio did test positive for blood doping at a 10,000m event, but he is the only big name to have been caught in 2012.