By Isaack Omulo
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s three-times world 1,500 meters champion Asbel Kiprop reiterated on Saturday that athletes who fail dope tests should serve jail terms.
Commenting on the Anti-Doping Bill which was signed into law on Friday by the country's President, Kiprop described it as a huge relief for clean athletes.
"I said two years ago in Doha that dopers should be jailed. I maintain that, although it should not be done retrogressively,” he told Reuters on Saturday at the Kenya Police Championships on the outskirts of the east African capital.
“I am a lucky athlete because this law has come during my time. Our (Kenya's) name has been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. From now on, dopers should serve jail terms. But those already banned should just serve their sanctions,” he said.
Kenya is a traditional global powerhouse in middle and long distance running but about 40 of their athletes have failed dope test in the past four years.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) gave Kenya a May 2 deadline to put in place anti-doping systems which meet its demands.
Kiprop maintained his quest for an Olympic medal in Rio Games by tearing apart a strong field at the Police Championships.
“I am only 50 percent fit now. By the time of the (Olympic) Trials, I hope to be 70 or 80 percent, then I will be good to go," he said.
"I will be running at the first Diamond League meeting in Doha in two weeks then at the Nike Meeting in Eugene, followed by Oslo and back to Kenya for the (Kenyan) Championships and Trials,” Kiprop told Reuters after winning the race in 3:40.50.
The world champion moved back and forth during the race and even had the luxury of slowing down on the home stretch before speeding past his strongest challenger, Abednego Chesebe, to win easily. Chesebe was second in 3:40.90.
“This is only April and I am happy with my shape. We still have a long way to go. By August when the Games start in Rio, I will be in a better shape. My aim is the Olympic final. Anything else will follow from there,” Kiprop said.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)