Ethiopia dope bans loom
LONDON — The glare of the doping police has switched to Ethiopia and the authorities are set to announce a number of positive drugs tests among the country’s top athletes in the coming weeks.
Ethiopia has so far escaped widespread doping scandals as attention has instead centred on Russia and, more recently, Kenya.
But Sportsmail can reveal that intelligence has led drug testers to focus their attention on numerous athletes from Ethiopia, the east African country which regularly dominates the distance running events at major championships.
Any evidence of widespread doping there could cause British athletes to rethink their training plans in future so they are as distanced as possible from any damaging scandal.
Mo Farah (pictured) was training at a high-altitude camp in the country until last month alongside the newly crowned British 1500m indoor champion Charlie Grice.
At the World Championships in Beijing last year, Ethiopia won eight medals in distance-running disciplines, although it is not known if any of the winners are implicated here.
Authorities have long been urged to police Ethiopian athletes better after anecdotal evidence suggested lax anti-doping practices.
Andrey Baranov, the Russian sports agent turned whistleblower, warned in November that Kenya and Ethiopia would be the next countries to fall foul of the drugs testers.
But last August, Dube Jillo, a former marathon runner and now an official at the Ethiopian Athletics Federation, said the country would not be dragged into athletics’ ever-widening doping scandal.
“Hard work has been the source of our strength,” he said. “The hills and the natural high altitude help us to achieve high in the international arena.”