Ethiopian icon Gebrselassie urges athletes to shun doping

Nairobi, Jan 20 (IANS) Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie has called upon athletes to shun doping and compete with a clean slate.

Gebrselassie, who is also the president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation, on Thursday said that there was no short cut to glory, adding that people must work hard for their success, reports Xinhua.

“Athletes should sweat for success. Kenya and Ethiopia must fight doping because they are the leading countries in the world in long distance running from 5,000m to the marathon,” the two-time 10,000 metres Olympic champion remarked during a gala event to reward Kenya’s most outstanding sports personalities on Thursday night.

Kenya has had 43 doping cases confirmed in the last three years.

The Sport Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) are annual national awards given to sports personalities in Kenya. They were initiated by former world marathon record holder Paul Tergat in 2004.

Tergat said the occasion is the finest moment in the sporting calendar in Kenya because it rewards success.

“The year 2016 was a most challenging period with ups and downs, but today we are gathered here in a celebratory mood to pay tribute to gallant sportsmen and women,” Tergat told the audience.

“During our time, Gebrselassie and I competed fairly when there were no underhand dealings and when sport was sport,” the SOYA founder remarked.

During the occasion Olympic 5,000m champion and 10,000m silver medallist, Vivian Cheruiyot was crowned the most outstanding Kenyan sports personality of 2016.

Cheruiyot took the opportunity to announce her entry into road racing and sounded a warning shot to Ethiopian runners, adding that her debut race will be the London Marathon in April.

“Haile, go and announce to your runners that there is a new kid on the block and they should watch out,” she joked.