Ethiopians shake off doping concerns to strike gold

Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:58pm EDT
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By Gene Cherry

Portland, Oregon (Reuters) - Ethiopia, one of five countries under the watchful eye of the IAAF over concern for their drug-testing systems, dominated the long races to finish second at the world indoor championships that ended on Sunday.

Led by world record holder Genzeba Dibaba, the African nation swept the top two spots in the women's 3,000 meters and claimed gold in the men's 3,000m on Sunday.

The strong showing came a day after Ethiopian-born athletes took the first four places in the women's 1,500m.

"I think it is the altitude and hard training," Dibaba told Reuters when asked why Ethiopian men and women are so impressive in the distance events.

Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Ukraine and Belarus have been identified by IAAF president Sebastian Coe as countries in need of "critical care" because of their drug-test systems.

"Ethiopia and Morocco -- as a matter of urgency -- need a robust testing program put in place," Coe said.

"Kenya, Ukraine and Belarus need to get compliant by the end of the year."

The countries are in no immediate danger of being banned from athletics and missing the Olympics, Coe said.   Continued...

Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia celebrates after winning the women's 3000 meters final during the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships in Portland, Oregon March 20, 2016.   REUTERS/Mike Blake