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Ottawa Marathon third-place finisher provisionally suspended for EPO

Ethiopia's Etaferahu Temesgen Wodaj, who's placed top ten in two recent Canadian marathons, has been provisionally suspended for use of EPO and testosterone

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has provisionally suspended Etaferahu Temesgen Wodaj of Ethiopia for the use of EPO and testosterone. The marathoner has Canadian ties, claiming third place at this year’s Ottawa Marathon, finishing in 2:28:44 and eighth in the 2019 Toronto Marathon, crossing the line in 2:27:21.

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RELATED: David Freake tests positive for EPO, receives four year ban

Wodaj won $3,000 CAD for her placing in Ottawa. The runner is now temporarily suspended from participating in any competition or activity prior to a final decision at a hearing conducted under the IAAF anti-doping rules and the integrity code of conduct.

Ottawa Race Weekend
Photo: Matt Stetson

Wodaj has only recorded three results this year: a DNF at the Houston Marathon in January and her two Canadian results. It’s possible that she tested positive during an in-competition test after one of the Canadian races.

Canada’s David Freake of St. John’s also tested positive for several banned substances at the 2019 Ottawa Marathon according to a report from the CCES (Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport). The marathoner’s sample from an in-competition test showed recombinant EPO, ephedrine (commonly found in cold medication) and GW501516, 2,4-dinitrophenol, which is primarily used as a weight-loss drug.

Synthetic EPO (erythropoietin) is used to boost the body’s red blood cell production and has been on WADA’s list of banned substances for many years.