Laura Muir has revealed how uneasy she feels about racing Genzebe Dibaba, who beat her twice in the world indoor championships in Birmingham.
Muir and Dibaba are barely on speaking terms, because of the Ethiopian's links with the coach Jama Aden, who remains under investigation by anti-doping authorities after being arrested in Spain in 2016. Police found EPO in a hotel room at a training camp run by Aden. Dibaba was among the athletes present at the camp.
Muir won silver and bronze behind Dibaba in the 1,500m and 3,000m respectively in Birmingham. After the 1,500m the 24-year-old Scottish runner said that she chose not to have a relationship with her rival because, her coach Andy Young explained, Dibaba’s “association with a certain coach is not particularly healthy for the sport”. Young believes that Muir is not the only runner who feels uneasy about Dibaba as a result.
Aden and Dibaba, the world 1,500m record holder, have both denied that they committed any doping violations. Although there is an outstanding arrest warrant for Aden in Ethiopia and he is banned from attending IAAF competitions until the investigation by Spanish police and the Athletics Integrity Unit is complete, Dibaba’s manager has told reporters that Aden is still coaching the athlete.
Mo Farah has also faced questions about his past relationship with Aden. British Athletics distanced Farah from Aden after his arrest, describing the coach as an “unofficial facilitator” for Farah when he trained in Ethiopia in 2015.
Muir admitted that she found it difficult to run alongside Dibaba. “It is what it is,” she said. “All I can do is concentrate on my performances. I know I work my butt off day in, day out, and I deserve the medals.”
Muir says she has always taken the view that “no matter whose on the start line I’ll race against them”, adding: “The reason I’m in this sport is because I enjoy it and nobody is going to stop me from enjoying it.” She added that her frosty relationship with Dibaba would only make it all the more satisfying if she finally beats her.