Guardian investigation shows how easy it is to obtain doping products (EPO), uncovers disorganization at the Ethiopian anti-doping agency and catches leading athlete admitting to having taken performance-enhancing drugs

By Martha Kelner (The Guardian) |

Inside Ethiopia’s flagship stadium, the bleachers are painted the green, yellow and red of the flag. The country’s best athletes have converged in Addis Ababa for the national championships while the great and good of Ethiopian sport gather trackside in matching beige suits and white baseball caps.

Haile Gebrselassie is among them, handing out medals in his capacity as the president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF). He receives a louder cheer than anyone when introduced by the stadium announcer. Two Olympic and four world 10,000m titles mark him out as one of the greatest distance runners of all time and the most famous man in Ethiopia, where athletics is the national sport. His reputation has helped build an enviable property and business portfolio, making him a wealthy man.

At one end of the stadium a billboard pictures other distance running greats Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba and Almaz Ayana, whose extraordinary 10,000m world record at the Rio Olympics last summer was greeted with disbelief in some quarters. Beneath them, in bold writing, is the statement: “It is possible to be the best without doping.”

However a joint investigation by the Guardian, the German broadcaster ARD and Holland Media Combination suggests that may not be true in every case. It shows how easy it is to obtain doping products in the country and there emerges a prevailing sense of disorganization at the Ethiopian anti-doping agency, which is charged with testing athletes. A hugely successful Ethiopian athlete is also caught on undercover film, seeking a new doping program and admitting to having taken performance-enhancing drugs before claiming one of her biggest titles.

Continue reading this story at The Guardian
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