Ethiopian Athletes Investigated For Failed Doping Tests

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

The sport of athletics is under siege from the scourge of doping, and Ethiopia is its latest victim. The Ethiopian Anti-Doping Agency revealed this week that nine of their athletes are under investigation due to failed doping tests.

Amongst the nine in total, the Anti-Doping Agency’s general secretary Solomon Meaza said that they are investigating five high-profile athletes after what was described as “suspicious” results in tests.

“To be clear, some banned (substances) were found in the five athletes,” he said to The Associated Press.

“They will be summoned and asked if they have taken any banned substances (or) chemicals,” he stated.

The general secretary did not want to name the athletes involved or give any details regarding the suspected substances that could have been abused by the athletes, as the investigations are ongoing and guilt must not be established until all elements of the investigations are completed satisfactorily.

“There is a real concern when the upcoming investigations arrive,” Solomon added.

This negative news for Ethiopian athletics comes hot on the heals of a doping crisis in fellow East African nation Kenya, where over 40 Kenyan athletes have been banned for doping by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Title holder of the Chicago and Boston Marathon, Rita Jeptoo, 400 meter runner Joyce Zakari and renowned road runner Mathew Kisorio are all implicated for failing doping tests.

Last month Athletics Kenya (AK) chief executive officer, Isaac Mwangi, was banned by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Ethics commission for six months concerning allegations of interference in anti-doping investigations regarding Kenyan athletics since last year.

The Kenyan athletes risk missing out on the 2016 Olympics in Rio later in the year if they do not show sufficient efforts being made to eradicate the sport of doping.

Abeba Suspended

The latest news concerning the Ethiopians will put them in the spotlight ahead of Rio 2016, and they may also lose out on participating in the Summer Games if the WADA is not content with their anti-doping efforts.

This latest blow to athletics was followed by a IAAF announcement that Ethiopian-born former 1,500-meter world champion Abeba Aregawi failed a doping test and was suspended ahead of an investigation.

Abeba failed an out-of-competition test in Ethiopia, where she trains, although she now competes for Sweden. The IAAF revealed that Abeba had voluntarily withdrawn from competition and requested testing of her backup “B” sample.