Mo Farah 'facilitator' arrested in doping raid in Spain
British Athletics plays down links between runner and Jama Aden, coach of female athlete of the year Genzebe Dibaba
An athletics coach who worked as an "unofficial facilitator" for the British Olympic champion Mo Farah at his training base in Ethiopia has been arrested in a doping raid in Spain.
Jama Aden, who coaches the women's 1,500m world champion Genzebe Dibaba, and a Moroccan physiotherapist, were held in a raid at a hotel. The pair have been charged with administering banned substances to athletes.
The performance-enhancing hormone EPO (erythropoietin) is "understood to have been found along with other banned products", reports The Times.
"The arrests were the latest blow to athletics in the build up to the Olympics after the Russian doping scandal that led to the country's athletes being banned from the Rio de Janeiro Games," says the paper.
British Athletics used Aden as an "unofficial facilitator" last year when Farah switched training bases from Kenya to Ethiopia.
He was "in charge of recruiting local athletes as running partners for Farah, who included Hamza Driouch, who was serving a two-year ban for irregularities in his biological passport", says the Times.
There is no suggestion that Farah has been involved in doping and the London Evening Standard says British Athletics "downplayed Mo Farah's involvement with Jama Aden" after the arrest.
"All Aden did was hold a stopwatch and shout times to athletes as they completed their sessions," said a spokesman. "Since last year there has been absolutely no involvement with Aden, unofficial or official."
The Spanish anti-doping agency, AEPSAD, said that it had drug-tested more than 20 athletes at the hotel. They have not been named, although the Times reports that Dibaba was staying there.
"Dibaba, 25, is female world athlete of the year and a hot favourite to win gold at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics later this year," reports the BBC.
It lists other athletes to have been coached by Aden as including Sudanese two-time world indoor 800m champion Abubaker Kaki Khamis, 2008 Beijing Olympics 800m silver medallist Ismael Ahmed Ismael, also from Sudan, and 2012 London Olympics 1,500m champion Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria.
Last year, Farah's coach Alberto Salazar was forced to deny claims made in a BBC documentary that he had been involved in doping. The allegations related to US 10,000m record holder Galen Rupp, who denied ever taking a banned substance. No action has been taken against Salazar.