By Dawit Tolesa
A judge has released the coach of world 1,500-meter champion Genzebe Dibaba, three days after his arrest near Barcelona.
Jama Aden had been detained on suspicion of administering and distributing doping substances and endangering public health. His arrest came after Spanish police allegedly found traces of EPO and other banned substances in a raid in a hotel outside Barcelona on Monday.
The judge released Aden on Thursday but retained his passport and ordered him not to leave Spain. He remains under investigation.
Aden has held annual training camps in the area since 2013.
Genzebe is favored to win the women's 1,500-meter Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro in August.
According to the Associated Press, police confirmed Aden and his trainer [an unnamed Moroccan] were under arrest on charges of administering and distributing doping substances and endangering public health. After questioning by law enforcement, both detainees should face prosecution within 72 hours.
The article indicated that officials from the International Association of Athletics Federations also detained and tested 30 of the athletes who were staying at the hotel. Providing and distributing drugs being a crime in Spain, police there usually target the network that enables doping, leaving the IAAF to deal with individual athletes. It appears police and track officials worked jointly on this raid.
In 2015, two of Aden’s athletes, Laila Traby of France and Hamza Driouch of Qatar, were suspended for doping violations.
In April of this year, at the beginning of the outdoor season, the World Anti-Doping Agency apparently thought to check in on the anti-doping program in Ethiopia and were shocked to discover it was deplorable. The Ethiopian Athletics Federation seemed prepared, probably because neighboring Kenya has been on the hot seat for more than a year, and declared they had set aside USD 300,000 for testing, and would start doing so immediately. It’s uncertain whether Jama Aden and his group of athletes were in Ethiopia at the time or not.
So far, athletes are not saying anything about their coach’s arrest including Genzebe Dibaba. However, the Ethiopian Athletics Federation officially stated that Jama Aden has not been recognized it. “He was working here on a tourist visa.” Bililgn Mekoya, secretary general, told The Reporter.