ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Distance running great Haile Gebrselassie was elected president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation on Saturday after saying the sport in his country had been “stained” by doping allegations and he wanted to “clear that up.”
The 43-year-old Gebrselassie was elected for a four-year term.
“I feel so honoured to be elected president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation! Will work on a great future for Ethiopian athletics!” Gebrselassie wrote on his official Twitter account.
Six Ethiopian athletes were suspended on suspicion of doping this year — two of them have now been banned — and the World Anti-Doping Agency warned the country’s authorities that they needed to strengthen their anti-doping programs.
“Instead of challenging WADA and other anti-doping agencies, we have to be able to admit that we have a problem and then work hard to address it. I believe that Ethiopia’s doping problem is not deep. But certainly there are signs.”
“The state of athletics in Ethiopia is not on the right track so I don’t want to sit idle and watch it turn into ruins,” Gebrselassie said. “Ethiopia’s athletics potential is probably four times bigger than our neighbor Kenya. Our main problem is that we haven’t had a leadership that could bring out and nurture that talent.”
©Alleastafrica and AP