9 Ethiopian runners under investigation for doping

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UPDATE: 2/3/16: Endeshaw Negesse, who won the 2015 Tokyo Marathon, has been the first Ethiopian athlete named as having reportedly failed a drug test. It's thought that Negesse tested positive for Meldonium, a drug which improves blood flow to the heart. Ethiopian-born Swedish 1,500m runner Abeba Aregawi failed tests for the drug earlier this week.

Nine Ethiopian runners, including five ‘top athletes,’ are under investigation for doping, the general secretary of the country's anti-doping agency Solomon Meaza said on Monday.

Meaza told the Associated Press that his agency is investigating the five top athletes after their blood samples returned ‘suspicious’ results.

The IAAF has requested contact details for the other four athletes under suspicion, which the governing body is now investigating, Solomon said, adding that he has provided the details for those athletes to the IAAF through the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Solomon declined to identify the athletes or give details of the test results as investigations are ongoing.

‘To be clear, some banned (substances) were found in the five athletes,’ he said. ‘They will be summoned and asked if they have taken any banned substances (or) chemicals.’

The news came on the same day the IAAF announced that Ethiopian-born 1,500 metre world champion Abeba Aregawi failed a doping test and has been provisionally suspended pending investigation.

The Ethiopian cases will be another major blow to the sport following doping scandals in Russia and Kenya in the run-up to the Rio Olympics in August.