‘You can’t be consistent if you’re not clean’
Dutch runner Sifan Hassan fends off questions on doping with emphatic statement of ‘I am clean’.
It has been a difficult week for Dutch distance runner Sifan Hassan after her coach Alberto Salazar was banned by the United States Anti-Doping agency (USADA) and was then sent home from the World Championships in Doha.
Hassan did clinch a double at the world championships – winning the 10,000M and 1500M – but her achievements could not keep away the questions on her coach and the entire doping controversy. The Dutch runner, who trains with the Nike Oregon Project (NOP) of which Salazar is a part of, answered the hard questions posed to her with emphatic statements.
After her 1500M win on Saturday, she said, “I’ve been consistent in my performances in the past five years. If I wasn’t clean it’s not possible to be that consistent. I think anyone who is not clean can’t be so consistent,” she said.
“I’ve been a top athlete for so many years. And I’ve been tested often. Do people think that I don’t get tested? I’m clean and have always been,” she added.
Sifan went on to say, “I believe in clean athletes, clean running and clean sport. I’ve believed it so far and will always do so”.
Sifan showed that the departure of her coach midway through the championships did not really affect her performances. “Yes, it was difficult because I couldn’t talk to anyone about strategy. But I had a really good manager and the Dutch Federation supported me all the way and that helped me stay focused,” she said.