Po­lice swoop on top coach in lat­est dop­ing scan­dal

Aden ar­rested af­ter sting in Spain

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

The coach of world 1,500-me­tre cham­pion Gen­zebe Dibaba and a host of mid­dle and long-dis­tance run­ners has been ar­rested just out­side Barcelona af­ter Span­ish po­lice raided his ho­tel room and found the blood-boost­ing drug EPO.

Jama Aden, the renowned So­mali coach, was de­tained along with a Moroc­can phys­io­ther­a­pist af­ter EPO was found in six rooms, along with an­abolic steroids and 60 sy­ringes.

Six doc­tors from the IAAF, ath­let­ics’ world gov­ern­ing body, and of­fi­cials from the Span­ish Anti-Dop­ing Agency were also present to carry out dop­ing con­trols on 28 ath­letes who were stay­ing in the same ho­tel.

Po­lice said Aden and his col­league were ar­rested on charges of ad­min­is­ter­ing and dis­tribut­ing dop­ing sub­stances and en­dan­ger­ing public health.

The IAAF later re­vealed that the ar­rest was the re­sult of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that had be­gun in 2013.

“The IAAF will use all avail­able re­sources and pow­ers to pro­tect clean ath­letes and the in­tegrity of our sport,” the IAAF said in a state­ment. “This in­cludes tar­get­ing and in­ves­ti­gat­ing in­di­vid­u­als and coaches who are in­tent on ex­ploit­ing ath­letes and pro­mot­ing the use of pro­hib­ited sub­stances.”

The Span­ish anti-dop­ing agency alerted lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in 2015 and a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­lowed un­til the raid took place on Mon­day at the Ar­ra­hona ho­tel, close to the train­ing fa­cil­i­ties where some ath­letes are pre­par­ing for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Af­ter ques­tion­ing by law en­force­ment, both de­tainees could now face pros­e­cu­tion within the next 72 hours.

The ath­letes at the raided ho­tel were mainly from coun­tries in­clud­ing So­ma­lia, Ethiopia, Dji­bouti, Al­ge­ria, Saudi Ara­bia, Egypt and Qatar.

The probe was named “Oper­a­tion Rial” by in­ves­ti­ga­tors. Rial is also the name of the cur­rency used in Qatar, Saudi Ara­bia and other coun­tries in the re­gion.

While Aden’s most high-pro­file ath­lete is Ethiopian pro­tégé Dibaba, the 53-year-old coaches sev­eral other prom­i­nent ath­letes, in­clud­ing two UAE run­ners - Betl­hem Be­layneh and Alia Saeed.

The 25-year-old Dibaba is one of the hot favourites for gold at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics; is the cur­rent world in­door and out­door record-holder for 1500m, and the reign­ing world cham­pion for out­door 1500m and in­door 3,000m.

Her two sisters, Tirunesh Dibaba, a three-time Olympic cham­pion, and Eje­gayehu Dibaba, an Olympic sil­ver medal­list, were not trained by Aden but were tak­ing part in his train­ing camp in Spain.

Aden, who ran for So­ma­lia in the 1980s, has also been used in the past by the Bri­tish fed­er­a­tion as an “un­of­fi­cial fa­cil­i­ta­tor” for train­ing camps in Ethiopia, in­clud­ing at least one at­tended by dou­ble Olympic cham­pion Mo Farah last year.

A spokesman for Bri­tish Ath­let­ics said Aden had not been used in any role this year, as a re­sult of changes it made fol­low­ing the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing Farah’s Amer­i­can coach Al­berto Salazar.

“All Aden did last year, for a very short pe­riod of time, was to hold a stop watch and shout out times to ath­letes as they com­pleted their track ses­sions,” said the spokesman. “There was no coach­ing or any­thing tech­ni­cal in­volved.”

Mean­while, a si­mul­ta­ne­ous po­lice raid in Madrid re­sulted in 16 ar­rests re­lated to the traf­fick­ing of drugs and an­abolic steroids.

WORLD-CLASS PER­FORMER: Gen­zebe Dibaba trains with Jama Aden and was last year voted the IAAF world ath­lete of the year

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