Sport Rio 2016 Olympics

Monday 20 February 2017

My doping is Jesus, insists new 10,000m world record holder Almaz Ayana

Cathal Dennehy

Published 13/08/2016 | 02:30

Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana knocked 14 seconds off the world record. Photo: Getty Images
Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana knocked 14 seconds off the world record. Photo: Getty Images

It was, unquestionably, one of the most dazzling, destructive displays of distance running ever witnessed.

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In the Olympic Stadium yesterday morning, Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana obliterated the women's 10,000m world record, running 29:17.45 to win gold and take more than 14 seconds off the previous mark, held by China's Wang Junxia since 1993.

Run that fast, in a sport with this reputation, and just as many brows will be furrowed as raised in the aftermath.

So it was yesterday afternoon, as the 24-year-old smiled in bemusement as the question inevitably came her way at the press conference. Are you clean?

"Three things," said Ayana, through her interpretor. "Number one, I did my training. Number two, I praise the Lord. He is giving me everything, everything, everything.

"And my doping is my training, my doping is Jesus. Otherwise, nothing. I am crystal clear."

Sweden's Sarah Lahti, who finished 12th in 31:28.43, said afterwards that she didn't believe Ayana was 100pc clean.

The Ethiopian is coached by her boyfriend, Soresa Fida, a former athlete.

She has been receiving training advice from Yannis Pitsiladis since last year, the renowned physiologist and sports scientist who is behind the heavily-funded two-hour marathon project, and she is managed by Jos Hermens, the Dutch agent who oversaw the careers of distance-running legends Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele.

"What can I say, even if I offer her a multivitamin, she is checking it a hundred times," Hermens told the Irish Independent yesterday.

"She is always double checking what she takes and she doesn't want to take anything.

"I can swear I have given her nothing, ever. You can kill me (if I have). Cut my head off."

Irish Independent

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