The IOC have demanded that World Rugby individually drug test and clear all Kenyan players attending the Rio Olympics.
The same rule will apply to all Russian players as well, should they qualify for Rio in Dublin next weekend.
Ireland promoting World Rugby anti-doping programme
Sanctions against Kenyan and Russian athletes hoping to attend this year’s Olympic had, until now, been limited to just their track and field stars, but for the first time yesterday it was confirmed that all Olympic athletes from these countries in all sports will have to prove their drug-free status.
Due to concerns about the unsatisfactory state of national anti-doping measures in the two countries IOC president Thomas Bach explained that there were now “very serious doubts on the presumption of innocence” and that the IOC will therefore not recognise the results of tests undertaken by laboratories in Kenya and Russia.
“Therefore,” he said, “each athlete coming from these two countries will have to be declared eligible by their respective international federation following an individual procedure and evaluation of the situation. In this individual evaluation, tests from laboratories that are tainted or non-compliant cannot be taken into consideration. The respective international federation will have to take into account other reliable tests, that means international tests, or tests supervised by international authorities.”
Players taking part in the World Series or other international tournaments will almost certainly have been drug tested over the past season. World Rugby – who publish a detailed anti-doping guide for players - carry out over 3,000 tests each year, about a third of which are “out of competition”. In 2015 there were only four positive tests from both men’s and women’s rugby. World Rugby’s anti-doping compliance manager, David Ho, has been quoted as saying that rugby’s programme is the “envy of many other sports”.
However it is possible that some players may not have been tested, especially from Kenya who only played one round of the World Series in 2016/17. New players in particular are likely to have been missed, especially if they have never played outside their home country.