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Gemechu first Ethiopian runner to test positive for EPO

Posted: 05 Mar 2010 10:43
by ኦሽንoc
[center]Gemechu first Ethiopian runner to test positive for EPO [/center]

Olympic marathoner Shetaye Gemechu has received a two-year ban from the Ethiopian Athletics Federation after testing positive for the banned substance EPO. The 29-year old is the third high profile Ethiopian in the last six years to be charged with a doping offense but first to test positive for EPO. She denied the charges in an exclusive Universal Sports interview.

By Elshadai Negash and Tadele Assefa, Special to Universal Sports |
Posted:Mar 5, 6:39a ET

Ethiopia's Olympian marathon runner Shetaye Gemechu has received a two-year ban from the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) after testing positive for the banned substance EPO.
Gemechu, who competed for Ethiopia in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Olympic Marathons, is a regular in the U.S. road running circuit winning the Rock n' Roll Arizona Marathon for three consecutive years between 2004 and 2006, tested positive after winning the Dexia Route du Vin Half Marathon in Luxembourg on the 27th of September 2009 and could be slapped with a further ban by her national federation.
"The [Ethiopian Athletics] Federation has penalized Shitaye [Gemechu] for two years," confirmed EAF General Secretary Adam Tadesse. "In addition to the standard penalty suggested by the IAAF, the federation is also planning to impose its own penalty and this has to be decided through the management."
Road runner Alene Emere, who now lives and competes in the US after seeking asylum in 2004, and established marathon runner Ambesse Tolosa, who after winning the 2008 Honolulu Marathon tested positive for morphine; were each given two-year ban by the EAF, which is now concerned about the rise in offenders.
"Our sport builds up a country's image and whenever doping cases increase, it shows there is a problem of fair play in the country," said Tadesse. "It also downs the credibility of other athletes leaving a negative image on their performances. We would like to put an end to doping issue before the number of cases increases further and start taking major actions against any cases that have connection with doping."
But speaking to exclusively to Universal Sports, Gemechu vehemently denied that she had taken a banned substance to boost her performance in Luxembourg. "The Luxemburg race was a small race with a prize of only 1000 Euros," she said. "There is no way I would take doping for such small race. I run the race just to test myself before I returned back to my country [after a 10km in Germany].
However, Gemechu confirmed that she had fallen ill prior to racing in Luxembourg and had taken medicine without checking its contents. "I did not know the specific names of the medicines I took while I was in Germany because I gave the prescription to the pharmacy," she said. "I was also not able to communicate with the doctors who took the urine test because of language problem and I was not able to explain to them. Running is my life. They said I am taking doping for such a small race."
The two-year ban is expected to last until February 2012, but an extension of the sanction will end her chance of becoming the first Ethiopian to run in three Olympic marathons.

Source: Universalsports