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Sunday, 19 August, 2001, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
El Guerrouj warns of drugs deaths
Hicham  El Guerrouj
El Guerrouj won his third world title in a row in Edmonton
World 1,500m champion Hicham El Guerrouj has said that drug-taking athletes are putting their lives at risk.

The Moroccan was speaking in the aftermath of the death from a brain tumour of Kenyan former 10,000m world record holder and Olympic silver medalist Richard Chelimo.

El Guerrouj said: "We will see in 20 or 30 years who took drugs and who didn't. Look what happened to Chelimo."

Asked if he was saying that Chelimo's death was linked to taking performance-enhancing drugs, El Guerrouj replied: "I'm not saying anything. I am simply pointing out that not long ago Chelimo was a healthy athlete. And now, at 29, he's dead."
Richard Chelimo
Chelimo died from a brain tumour on Wednesday

He added: "In the years to come many athletes will die because of doping. Believe me, there will be more premature deaths."

El Guerrouj's comments came as athletics officials announced that the world 5,000m silver medalist, Ali Saidi-Sief of Algeria, had tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone.

Saidi-Sief faces a disciplinary hearing and risks a lengthy ban and being stripped of his medal.

"He has tarnished Algeria's image, and that upsets me after everything that athletes like Noureddine Morceli have done for Algeria," El Guerrouj told Swiss weekly dimance.ch.

He expressed surprise that Saidi-Sief had tested positive for nandrolone, which is usually considered to boost performance in sprint events rather than longer races.

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