Ethiopia not worried about doping problems

Athletics chiefs in Ethiopia are
not worried about doping problems in the sport and are dealing
with them strongly, a senior official said on Saturday.

The east African nation and neighbouring Kenya have been
rocked by a number of positive doping tests in recent years and
both countries were placed in “critical care” by the athletics
authorities over their drug-testing systems.

“It (doping) is not worrying us. The few cases that emerged
were dealt with squarely and decisively and we have launched a
major education programme among young athletes because we know
knowledge is power,” Bililign Mekoya, Secretary General of
Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF), told Reuters.

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“We are working with our Kenyan counterparts, our national
anti-doping organisation and the IAAF to get to root out
doping,” he added.

“It does not threaten us now. Our government has done a
great job and we are confident that it won’t take root in
Ethiopia.”

Ethiopia and Kenya have introduced legislation to
criminalise doping. More than 40 Kenyan athletes have tested
positive in the past five years.

Jos Hermens, who manages many of Ethiopia’s elite runners,
said doping cases were not as many as had been reported.

“We are working with authorities to attack the (doping)
matter. Africa does not need doping, they always produce good
athletes,” the Dutchman said.

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“We are working with Haile Gebrselassie in Ethiopia and Paul
Tergat in Kenya. Reports doing rounds about doping, particularly
in Ethiopia, are disgraceful,” he added.

Gebrselassie, the former Olympic and world champion
long-distance runner, has said previously that dopers should be
jailed for life.

“Doping cases in Ethiopia were so few, compared to Kenya,
but that does not mean they were ignored,” Hermans said.

“We will catch them. Some unscrupulous doctors and
pharmacists have been misleading young athletes, but we will
soon attack and deal with them.”

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