Wednesday 23 May 2018

Laura Muir reveals she no longer speaks to Genzebe Dibaba over her ties to coach being investigated for possible doping offences

Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba wins the Women's 1500m Final ahead of runner up Britain's Laura Muir
Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba wins the Women's 1500m Final ahead of runner up Britain's Laura Muir

Ben Bloom

Laura Muir has revealed she does not speak to Genzebe Dibaba, the athlete who beat her to two gold medals at last week’s World Indoor Championships, because of the Ethiopian’s links to a coach under investigation for potential drug offences.

Multiple world champion and world record holder Dibaba is the highest profile athlete coached by Jama Aden – one of the sport's most controversial figures, who was arrested when police burst into his group’s hotel in Sabadell, Spain, in 2016 and found erythropoietin (EPO) in the room of one of his physiotherapists.

Spanish media also reported police seeing Aden put plastic bags of used needles into rubbish bins outside the hotel, which the coach later claimed were “injections that I use for myself”.

While the raid, which marked the culmination of a three-year investigation into Aden’s activities, is yet to yield any formal drugs charges, Aden remains on bail and Dibaba has stayed loyal to the man who has turned her into a world-beater.

Muir noticeably steered clear of Dibaba after winning 1,500m silver and 3,000m bronze behind the Ethiopian at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham last week, only giving her rival the briefest of handshakes after each race.

Asked about her relationship with Dibaba, Muir confirmed she had chosen not to speak to her in any capacity.

When asked why that was the case, she looked at her coach Andy Young, who explained: “Her association with a certain coach is not particularly healthy for the sport.”

Young also suggested Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan, who also claimed two world indoor medals alongside Muir, was “expressing her contempt” for Dibaba when she appeared to show a total lack of interest in standing beside the Ethiopian on the podium.

Asked whether she finds it hard competing against Dibaba, Muir replied: “It can be difficult, but I think I’ve always said that no matter who is on the startline, I’ll race against them.

“The reason I’m in this sport is because I enjoy it and nobody is going to stop me from enjoying it.

“It is what it is. All I can do is concentrate on my performances.

“I know I work my butt off day in day out and I deserve the medals and all I can do is influence the training that I do, and what I can do on the track myself.”

There is no suggestion that Dibaba has ever been involved in any anti-doping offences.

Prior to his arrest, Aden had already been associated with drugs cheats when two of his athletes, Qatar’s Hamza Driouch and Laila Traby of France, were banned for doping violations.

Driouch once claimed Aden had helped him dope, before later retracting his statement.

At the time of Aden’s arrest in 2016, British Athletics released a statement insisting that he was no longer associated with fellow Somali-born Mo Farah.

Aden had previously been described as an “unofficial facilitator” to Farah after it emerged that he was present at some of the four-time Olympic champion’s training sessions in Ethiopia in 2015.

Farah was then pictured with Aden again in early 2016 as he worked alongside some of Aden’s athletes at another training camp in Ethiopia.

British Athletics said they had not used Aden’s services in any capacity since 2015, while Farah’s representatives denied he had ever had a relationship with the coach.

There is no suggestion that Farah has ever been involved in any anti-doping offences.

Online Editors

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