Mo Farah coach Alberto Salazar denies doping allegations

Open letter says: ‘I believe in a clean sport and hard work and so do my athletes’

Alberto Salazar has denied all allegations of doping. Photograph: PA

Alberto Salazar has denied all allegations of doping. Photograph: PA

 

Athletics coach Alberto Salazar has again strenuously denied doping allegations made against him, saying he believes in “a clean sport and hard work”.

In a lengthy and detailed open letter on the website of the Nike Oregon Project - the high-performance programme he oversees — the American, who is the coach of double Olympic champion Mo Farah, addressed allegations made in a recent BBC Panorama programme which accused him of violating anti-doping rules.

The documentary alleged that Salazar was involved in doping American Galen Rupp, the 10,000 metres silver medallist at the 2012 London Olympics behind Farah, in 2002 and claimed that some of the coach’s methods included the use of banned steroids and unethical practices.

However on the eve of the American trials — which start on Thursday and are set to include Rupp — Salazar has insisted he would never permit doping from his athletes and demanded the allegations made against him are withdrawn by the BBC and American-based investigative journalism organisation ProPublica.

He said: “I believe in a clean sport and hard work and so do my athletes. The Oregon Project will never permit doping and athletes must fully comply with the WADA Code and IAAF Rules.

“I will never permit doping. Oregon Project athletes must fully comply with the WADA Code and IAAF Rules.

“At no time do we use science in violation of the WADA Code. We strictly adhere to competition and anti-doping rules at all times.

“I have not and will not condone any athlete I train using a banned substance and would never encourage any athlete to use a banned substance. We have worked very, very hard to achieve our successes and are proud of our accomplishments.

“I hereby demand the BBC and ProPublica immediately publish a retraction of their false statements.”

Salazar’s statement, almost 12,000 words long, dealt with each allegation specifically and in detail, and also saw the Portland-based coach vigorously defend Rupp by highlighting his previously disclosed allergy issues.

“Galen suffers from severe allergies and breathing issues. He is medically diagnosed as suffering from both asthma and Hashimotos disease, a thyroid disease,” said Salazar.

“Galen has fully disclosed his asthma and allergy treatment to USADA. Galen has never taken a banned substance in violation of the WADA Code.

“Galen is one of the hardest working, most honest and genuine athletes I have ever known. Galen has never taken a banned substance in violation of the WADA Code.”

No allegations have been made against Farah, the Olympic 5,000 metres and 10,000m champion, but the Briton has been forced to defend his reputation since the documentary aired.

Farah recently travelled to Oregon to meet Salazar and seek reassurances from the coach, and has said he intends to stand by the American unless he is proven to have done wrong.

Salazar appeared to address the position that athletes under his guidance have found themselves in since the allegations were made, and voiced his pride at what the Oregon Project has achieved.

He said: “In preparing this response, I have spent hours reviewing information from the past 15 years. It has brought back many memories and caused me to think a great deal about everything we have done and accomplished in the Oregon Project. It is incredible. I am very proud of our success.

“I am saddened that these false allegations have been allowed to run with little care for the carnage in their wake.

“Some have tried to console me by saying public attacks like these are the price of success in today’s world. That’s not my world. That’s not the Oregon Project. Here, success is earned with talent, hard work, dedication and fair play.... and, that’s how it is going to stay.”

UK Athletics also issued a short statement saying it was aware of Salazar’s letter, which would now be passed on to the committee it set up to conduct a review of the allegations made against the coach, who is an ”unpaid consultant” for the governing body.

“UK Athletics acknowledges the publication of a statement by Alberto Salazar on the NOP website responding to claims made in the BBC Panorama programme ‘Catch me if you can’,” it read.

“The content of the statement will be referred to our Performance Oversight Group for consideration in their ongoing internal review.

“We emphasise once again that the Panorama programme contained no allegations against any British athletes, nor have any been made subsequently.”

Farah’s last comment on the matter came via a Facebook post on June 19 when he said he would not be speaking further until Salazar had given his side of the story.

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