Rival casts doubt over Almaz Ayana's 10,000m world record

Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana celebrates winning the gold medal in the women's 10,000-meter during the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Photo / AP.
Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana celebrates winning the gold medal in the women's 10,000-meter during the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Photo / AP.

It took less than five minutes after Almaz Ayana had crossed the line in the 10,000m final for it to start.

The shock of what the Ethiopian had just done to the world record was still registering when Swedish runner Sarah Lahti came out and said exactly what everyone was thinking.

Lahti had just broken Sweden's national record in finishing 12th behind Ayana who had smashed the 23-year-old record - set by China's Wang Junxi during the country's infamous drugs regime - by an extraordinary 14 seconds, running 29min17.45sec.

"I do not really believe that she is 100 per cent (clean). It is too easy for her," Lahti said.

"We see no facial expression - while the rest of us are struggling for life at the back. How much difference can there be? I cannot say that she is not clean, but there is little doubt."
This was not the start athletics needed at these Olympics.

The sport is coming off the worst year of its existence and then in the opening final of the whole dance all everyone is talking about it is ... drugs.

So in the lead-up to Rio we've had Russia's track and field team booted out because of a systematic government-backed doping scheme.

Then the day before the athletics program a Kenyan coach is sent home after posing as an athlete for a drugs test.

And then Ayana goes berserk in just her second 10,000m race on the track.

The 24-year-old finished 15 seconds ahead of 2015 world champion Vivian Cheruiyot and 25 seconds ahead of 2012 Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba.

The first 13 across the line either broke national records or recorded personal bests including Australia's Eloise Wellings who finished 10th - almost two minutes behind the Ethiopian.

Great Britain's Jo Pavey finished 15th and said "it's the craziest race I've ever been in."

"You hope not to get lapped at all, but to get lapped so early is really shocking," she said.
Ayana was asked after the race for her response "about people who don't think you can run this fast clean?".

Through a translator she claimed to be "crystal clear".

"I did my training, specifically (for the) 5km and 10km," Ayana said. "I praise the Lord.

God has given me everything, every blessing. My doping is my training. My doping is Jesus. Otherwise. Nothing. I am crystal clear."

We all hope she is, but the athletics world never expected Wang's record to be broken given it was so dirty.

Wang and her compatriot Qu Yunxia earned the nickname the "Chemical Sisters" with her coach suspended in 2000 after six of his athletes failed drug tests.

So what's left to get some positiveness happening in the athletics?

There's two-time drug cheat Justin Gatlin taking on Usain Bolt, intersex athlete Caster Semenya set to dominate the women's 800m and then Ayana's back in the 5000m.
Yep, all good here.


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