African Games 10,000 meters champion, Berehanu Tsegu of Ethiopia receives four-year doping ban for EPO

Berehanu Tsegu of Ethiopia has received a four-year doping ban from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) after testing positive for the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO).

The 20-year-old triumphed in the 10,000 meter competition at the 2019 African Games in Morocco, winning the Yangzhou Jianzhen International Half Marathon in the same year. 

Tsegu tested positive for EPO after providing an in-competition sample at the Copenhagen Half Marathon in September 2019. 

He initially denied any knowledge of taking the prohibited substance, claiming "he was not aware how EPO could have entered his body."

This month, however, Tsegu has admitted the anti-doping rule violations and accepted the consequences. 

He has subsequently received a four-year ban and had all results from September 15 2019 disqualified. 

In 2018, Ethiopia was named top of a list of nations categorized by World Athletics as most at risk of doping.

Along with Belarus, Ukraine and Kenya, they were among four countries included in Category A - Member Federations, which World Athletics believe are most likely to have doping problems.

Doping products are reportedly easily available in Addis Ababa, World Athletics warned.  

Following their inclusion on the list, the Ethiopian Athletics Federation launched a major education program among young athletes to warn them of the dangers of doping.  

Tsegu's suspension has been announced just weeks after Rio 2016 Olympic steeplechase gold medalist Ruth Jebet was handed a four-year ban for EPO.

The 23-year-old, who is Kenyan-born but competes for Bahrain, had tested positive for EPO in December 2017.

posted Monday March 23rd
by Nancy gillen