By Elias Meseret, Associated Press
Addis Ababa – Ethiopia must carry out mass doping tests on up to 200 athletes by November or be the latest to face further action by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and a possible ban by the IAAF, track and field officials in the country said Thursday.
Ethiopia will attempt to test between 150 and 200 athletes over the next seven months and will start as soon as next week, national track team doctor Ayalew Tilahun said.
“We are told that we could be banned from the IAAF if we don’t comply with the request,” Ayalew said at a news conference in Addis Ababa.
Results of the drug tests must be provided to WADA and the IAAF, he said. The government has provided $300,000 to fund the testing.
Ayalew told The Associated Press in a separate interview that Ethiopia could be banned from all sports if its doping program is not significantly improved.
“The struggle is critical,” he said.
WADA officials will visit Ethiopia to assess the progress on June 3 and IAAF President Sebastian Coe is also expected to visit around that time, Ayalew said.
Ethiopian Athletics Federation head Alebachew Nigussie said there was no threat of a ban from this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, adding “but that doesn’t also mean we need to relax.”
Ethiopia is the latest country to face sanctions following major doping scandals in Russia and Kenya.
Read more: ABC News