Mo Farah insists he is clean after leaked report

Sunday Times report says coach Salazar ‘almost certainly’ broke anti-doping rules

Mo Farah (right) celebrates winning the men’s 10,000m final at the London Olympics with silver medalist USA’s Galen Rupp (left) and coach Alberto Salazar. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Mo Farah (right) celebrates winning the men’s 10,000m final at the London Olympics with silver medalist USA’s Galen Rupp (left) and coach Alberto Salazar. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

 

Mo Farah insists he is “a clean athlete who has never broken the rules” after fresh allegations were published about his coach Alberto Salazar.

The American coach has again found himself at the centre of doping allegations after a report from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada), which was leaked to the Sunday Times, alleged he may have abused prescription medicines and drug infusions.

Four-time Olympic champion Farah has remained loyal to Salazar, who has repeatedly denied all accusations of wrongdoing since doping allegations against the head coach at the Nike Oregon Project were first broadcast by BBC’s Panorama programme in June 2015.

The Briton said in a statement: “It’s deeply frustrating that I’m having to make an announcement on this subject.

“I am a clean athlete who has never broken the rules in regards to substances, methods or dosages and it is upsetting that some parts of the media, despite the clear facts, continue to try to associate me with allegations of drug misuse.”

Farah, the two-time Olympic champion over 5,000 and 10,000 metres, added: “I’m unclear as to the Sunday Times’ motivations towards me, but I do understand that using my name and profile makes the story more interesting.

“But it’s entirely unfair to make assertions when it is clear from their own statements that I have done nothing wrong.

“As I’ve said many times before we all should do everything we can to have a clean sport and it is entirely right that anyone who breaks the rules should be punished.

“However, this should be done through proper process and if Usada or any other anti-doping body has evidence of wrongdoing they should publish it and take action rather than allow the media to be judge and jury.”

The leaked report, the Sunday Times says, stated that Salazar gave six leading American runners intravenous drip infusions which “almost certainly” broke anti-doping rules.

The report, which was written in March 2016, says athletes were given infusions of the chemical L-carnitine, a naturally-produced amino acid prescribed as a supplement for heart and muscle disorders. It is not a banned substance for athletes, but infusions of more than 50 millilitres in the space of six hours are prohibited.

The Sunday Times claims Salazar even boasted to Lance Armstrong of the “amazing” benefits of the drug before the disgraced former cyclist’s downfall.

The newspaper says that the Usada report contains allegations that Salazar gave athletes, including Farah, prescription drugs they had no medical need for in order to aid performance. For Farah, the Sunday Times says, this included potentially dangerous doses of permitted vitamin D medication to boost his testosterone levels.

The Usada document said that Farah’s British doctors intervened over concerns for his health, the Sunday Times reports.

It also reportedly says Farah was given an infusion of L-carnitine shortly before his London marathon debut in 2014 from medical staff at UK Athletics, who were advised by Salazar and his staff. The volume of that infusion, the report says, is unknown.

UK Athletics, speaking on behalf of the doctor who administered the infusion, said in a statement to the Sunday Times: “To our knowledge, all doses administered and methods of administration have been fully in accordance with Wada (World Anti-doping Agency) approved protocol and guidelines.”

The Sunday Times says Farah told them two years ago that he had “tried a legal energy drink” containing L-carnitine, but “saw no benefit” and did not continue with it.

The Usada report also accuses Salazar of looking to impede its investigation, the newspaper claims.

Salazar said athletes were given L-carnitine in “exactly the way Usada directed”, the Sunday Times says.

Usada released a statement on Saturday confirming it had prepared a report “in response to a subpoena from a state medical licensing body regarding care given by a physician to athletes associated with the Nike Oregon Project”, and that “a draft of this report was leaked to the Sunday Times by the Russian state-affiliated hacker group known as Fancy Bears”.

The statement added: “We understand that the licensing body is still deciding its case and as we continue to investigate whether anti-doping rules were broken, no further comment will be made at this time.

“Importantly, all athletes, coaches and others under the jurisdiction of the World Anti-Doping Code are innocent and presumed to have complied with the rules unless and until the established anti-doping process declares otherwise. It is grossly unfair and reckless to state, infer or imply otherwise.”

Usada launched an investigation into Salazar following the Panorama programme. Farah was questioned by its lawyers as part of that investigation, although he himself has never been under investigation.

Farah said at the time of the Panorama allegations that his name had been “dragged through the mud”, but he has stuck by Salazar. He said last year that he felt vindicated by his decision to stand by his controversial coach, given Usada has never announced it has uncovered any evidence of wrongdoing.

The Briton has won four Olympic and five world titles over 5,000m and 10,000m since relocating to the United States to link up with Salazar in 2011. This will be his final season on the track.

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