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Sifan Hassan ‘shocked’ by Salazar doping ban

World 10,000 metres champion Sifan Hassan works with Alberto Salazar at his Nike Oregon Project © AFP / Jewel SAMAD

DOHA, Qatar, Oct 1 – Newly crowned women’s 10,000 metres champion Sifan Hassan said she was “shocked” by Alberto Salazar’s doping ban on Tuesday, insisting her “conscience was clean” over working with the coach.

Hassan, who is coached by Salazar at the running guru’s Nike Oregon Project, sprinted to a brilliant gold medal in the 10,000m at the Khalifa Stadium on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Ethiopian-born Dutch athlete, who is coached by Salazar, is targeting a second gold in the 1,500m in Doha.

However on Tuesday her preparations were upended after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced it had handed Salazar a four-year suspension for doping violations.

“I am shocked to receive the news of today’s ruling, especially during this time in which I am fully preparing for my next race in the world championships in Doha,” Hassan said.

“This investigation is focused on the period before I joined the Oregon Project and therefore has no relation to me.”

Hassan said although she was aware of the investigation into Salazar before she joined the Portland-based camp, she had been reassured by the monitoring of the team.

“I was aware of the ongoing investigations when I joined the team and have always had a clean conscience, knowing we are being monitored to the absolute fullest by USADA and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency),” she said.

Salazar, 61, was suspended for a catalogue of drugs violations uncovered in a years-long investigation by USADA and a prolonged battle behind closed doors.

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Jeffrey Brown, a Texas endocrinologist who treated many of Salazar’s athletes at the Oregon Project, was also suspended for four years.

Salazar denies the accusations and intends to appeal against the sanctions.

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