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by Mark Zalewski
February 7, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: De Boer wins in Hoogstraten, Cant retains Superprestige lead; Van der Poel wins Hoogstraten and extends Superprestige lead; Maud Kaptheijns surprises in a muddy Krawatencross Lille; Van der Poel beats van Aert in Krawatencross; UCI issues new guidelines to boost safety in the race convoy; Van aert not troubled by double runner-up weekend; Accusations of motor doping by van Aert renewed after Krawatencross; Ethiopia approves prison sentences for doping; 32nd Ride the Rockies route announced; Wiggins eyeing acting after reality TV?; Backstage Pass – Jayco Herald Sun Tour, stage 4; Driver attempts to strike cyclist who also happens to be a cop; MacAskill barely clears head of comedian Jack Whitehall.
The Ethiopian government recently approved sentencing athletes to jail time if found to have cheated in sport. The newly appointed head of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation and former athletics champion, Haile Gebrselassie, said in an interview with The Independent that the first use of the law that imposes sentences of three-to-five years will take place soon, as 22-year-old Girmay Birahun is sent to jail for a doping violation.
“We need to be strict,” Gebreselassie said. “There must be a tough punishment. When we do this, the rest of the world needs to be strong too.
“It’s really important to work together, not just the federations, but the event organisers, the athlete managers, everyone. We need to have honest athletes that forget about shortcuts; ones who believe in sweating, not taking. When athletes take drugs they may make money in the short -term, but in the long term, when they think about what they’ve done, they will regret it. They are directly cheating money out of the pockets of other athletes.”
Gebreselassie feels that the Russian doping scandal was the wake-up call that sport needed to push to clean-up its act, and that strong punishments are the key to doing this. However, he also said that excluding Russia from competing in sport is also not the answer.
“My worry is for the feeling of the competition without Russia. Winning medals in athletics without defeating Russia… you cannot experience the same feeling. Imagine a football World Cup where you don’t have to defeat Germany, France or Italy. In athletics, winning races where you don’t have to defeat Russians or Kenyans, that’s not a real competition.”
Click through to read more at The Independent.