Eldoret - A 'trustable' team of doctors will from Tuesday start monitoring Kenya's top runners in a bid to stamp out doping that has tainted the country's athletics.
The doctors have been chosen by Athletics Kenya and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) which last year warned Kenya over a possible global ban from competition.
Athletics Kenya chief Jackson Tuwei said an initial team of five "trustable Kenyan doctors" had been picked to monitor Kenya's top runners and "limit bad medical practices and doping-promoting behaviours by some Kenyan health professionals."
The doctors will prepare a monthly report to be sent to the IAAF medical and anti-doping commission.
Tuwei warned that any athlete who failed to comply would not be selected for international competition.
"It is absolutely mandatory for these elite athletes to go through this network. It is painful, it is strict, it is critical ... but we have to do it," Tuwei said.
"Forty-nine athletes have been found to have violated the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) code in the past five years but were cautioned according to the laws of the land and WADA code."
Top athletes welcomed the monitoring.
"I am so happy with the new initiative. It shows that Athletics Kenya is serious with tackling this issue of doping," Rio Olympics marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge told AFP.
"It will be easy for us now to communicate with these doctors before we take any medicine when the need arises," said Jemima Sumgong, who won Kenya's first women's marathon gold in Rio last year.
The initial list of 109 elite athletes to take part in the programme include Kipchoge, Sumgong, two-time Olympic 800m champion and world record holder, David Rudisha and javelin world champion, Julius Yego.
Others are the women's 5000m Olympic champion, Vivian Cheruiyot and three-time steeplechase world champion Ezekiel Kemboi.