Inside the Games/Athletics Illustrated

It appears that the timing of Alberto Salazar’s announced four-year ban from coaching may have been planned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for maximum effect; it sure made the news rounds. If so, the message would be, “no one is immune.”

The Berlin Marathon ran last week and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele won in a near world-record time of 2:01:41; two seconds off of Eliud Kipchoge’s best. Kipchoge is one week away from attempting the history-making sub-2-hour marathon himself, for the second time.

Currently, the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships are in full swing. So, all media have their eyes on the sport of athletics at this time.

President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Sebastian Coe, who formerly defended Salazar has now announced that all athletes sever ties with Salazar. Salazar was kicked out of the world championships.

The athletes are receiving notice from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and is prohibiting them from future associations.

Dick Pound, founder and former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) told Athletics Illustrated, “It has always been more difficult to get at coaches and officials because of their power and influence, so it is encouraging to see that it can happen [the Salazar four-year ban].”

The athletes that are receiving notices include Sifan Hassan, who earlier released a statement through her agent, defending her relationship with Salazar.

The Ethiopian-born athlete now representing The Netherlands took the women’s 10,000-metres title on Saturday finishing in a jaw-dropping 3:59.09 for the final 1500m. She is apparently going for gold in the 1500m and perhaps 5,000m.

David Howman, chairman of the AIU, exclusively told insidethegames: “Salazar has been stripped of his accreditation for this event, and that means that notices have to be given to the athletes under his coaching so that they don’t associate with him now that he has been banned.”

Pound added, “Now that WADA has finally been given the power to investigate, it makes for a more effective organization.  What we need now is the power to implement provisional sanctions, to avoid the internal political conflicts of interest within IFs, etc.”

Howman added, “No athlete can be charged with prohibited association unless they have been notified about the coach or person they shouldn’t be associated with. So we have to give them written, formal notices to say ‘you cannot associate with your coach’.”

“We are doing that today.”

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