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Doping-Kenya is serious about inquiry, says official

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya has dismissed media reports it was unwilling to work with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and said it was serious about dealing with the problem.

Commissioner for Sports Gordon Oluoch said an inquiry into the country's doping scandals was only awaiting legal authority by the government before starting.

"We take such allegations very seriously," Oluoch told reporters on Wednesday, adding that a budget for the probe had been set.

"A high-powered government delegation will attend the world conference on doping in Johannesburg next month to reiterate the government's seriousness in getting to the root of these allegations. This is proof we are concerned."

Local and foreign media have reported that WADA is planning to censure Kenya in Johannesburg.

Although WADA has no powers to sanction Kenya it could rule the country is non-compliant with its code.

Kenya has suspended 17 athletes since January last year for doping.

German broadcaster ARD reported before the London 2012 Olympics there was systematic doping in training camps across Kenya's Rift Valley Province, the cradle of long-distance excellence.

Athletics Kenya (AK) denied the allegations but has started to acknowledge a drugs problem.

Last year AK promised to carry out an investigation into the sources of doping in Kenya but so far only athletes who test positive, usually during competitions abroad, have been punished.

($1 = 85.2000 Kenyan shillings)

(Editing by James Macharia and Alison Wildey)

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