London, February 20
Athletics must make “an example” of countries that do not follow doping rules, said Britain’s double world and Olympic champion Mo Farah on Friday.
Sebastian Coe, head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has said the governing body will suspend nations that damage the sport’s reputation. The IAAF could ban Kenya’s track and field team from this year’s Rio Olympics if the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) finds the country non-compliant.
Kenya, which topped the medals table at the 2015 world championships, has had more than 40 athletes banned for doping in the past three years, putting it in the crosshairs of the drive to eliminate systematic cheating and corruption. T
he African country missed last week’s WADA deadline to implement new regulations and its sports minister said on Friday the nation wanted two more months to show it had cleaned up its act, hoping to avoid the risk of an Olympic ban.
Farah, who competes with their distance runners, was asked at a news conference if the absence of Kenya would devalue the Games. “If we didn’t have Kenya then it makes it easier for me which is great,” he replied.
“But at the same time you don’t want to wish (that) on any athlete who has not done anything wrong. As a country they just have to follow the rules and if they can’t follow the rules then tough on them...we have to set an example,” he added.
The Somalia-born Farah, due to run over 3,000 metres at the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday, won the 5,000-10,000 double at the 2012 London Olympics and at the 2013 and 2015 world championships. He also said he would not allow the threat of the Zika virus, which is widespread in Brazil and linked to birth defects, to stop him enjoying the Olympics with his family.
At London 2012 his wife Tania and step-daughter Rihanna joined him on the track to celebrate his 10,000 triumph. “The Olympics is where it is at,” said Farah. “I want to have that moment for my family no matter what,” he added.