Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) President Haile Gebrselassie has vowed to work with Kenya in the country’s fight against doping.

Speaking in Nairobi at Kenya’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards, Gebrselassie remarked the Ethiopian Athletics Federation will start imposing lifetime bans on drug cheats as it tries to restore credibility in the wake of recent doping scandals. Gebrselassie, the two-time Olympic 10,000 meters gold medalist, added he is eager to help Kenya, the country’s neighbor, to tackle the problem. Gebrselassie added there are no shortcuts and also remarked Kenya and Ethiopia have to fight doping because if we ignore it, at the end of the day the loser will be Kenya and Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) President added we don’t have a chance to get those medicines, its foreigners who bring them to destroy our sport and said he urges all sports people and the Kenyan Government let us work together and fight for our innocent athletes.

Kenya, the athletics powerhouse particularly in long and middle-distance running, has topped the medals tally at different International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) events in the last decade, including the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

However, many of its athletes have been accused and found guilty of doping. Since 2012, around 40 athletes from the country have tested positive for banned drugs, including three-time Boston Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo, who failed for Erythropoietin (EPO) in 2014.

Kenya recently introduced a law criminalizing doping. This was after the African country was declared non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in May that almost put its participation at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August in jeopardy. The country however managed to resolve the issues on time.

Gebrselassie added his government had criminalized doping and a drug cheat now will serve up to five years in prison that is very important. The former Olympic 10,000 meters gold medalist said it is not about winning medals, but it is about protecting the next generation.

Former world marathon record holder Paul Tergat in 2004 said Gebrselassie and he competed fairly when there were no underhand dealings and when sport was sport.

In another development, David Rudisha, the two-time Olympic 800m gold medalist, has claimed that some drugs are however administered to athletes without their knowledge. Rudisha said he does not agree entirely with Haile because most of these athletes usually do not dope knowingly. Rudisha further added there are of course those who take performance-enhancing drugs in full knowledge, but there are those athletes who take pills for medicinal purposes without knowing they might contain banned substances. He also said it is tricky because the standard ban should be around four years though it differs between Federations. The two-time Olympic gold medalist said banning an athlete entirely without looking at the background would be unfair. He also said it is another case if it is found the athlete doped knowingly and also added but it should not be a blanket rule.

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