Athletics

Mo Farah: I'm a clean athlete and have never broken the rules

Great Britain's Mo Farah wins the Men's 5000m during day two of the Muller Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium, London
Guy Aspin

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 claims 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, the head coach at the Nike Oregon Project (NOP) in Portland who has repeatedly denied all accusations of wrongdoing since doping allegations against him were first broadcast by BBC's Panorama programme in June 2015.

Farah 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.

"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, 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 boost 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 (UKA), who were advised by Salazar and his staff. The volume of that infusion, the report says, is unknown.

UKA says it has co-operated fully with the anti-doping authorities over the Salazar investigation.

The organisation launched its own independent review into the NOP following the initial allegations against Salazar and it reported in September 2015 that it had found "no reason to be concerned" about Farah or any British athlete being involved with the centre.

A UKA spokesman on Sunday said: "UK Athletics, including all our key medical staff, has fully co-operated with both UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) and USADA as part of the investigation into the NOP.

"In addition, our own performance oversight group (POG) was set up in June 2015 to carefully review all aspects of our involvement with the NOP set-up.

"The findings, and subsequent recommendations published in 2016, remain valid and continue to underpin our processes.

"USADA have not reported back to UKA on any aspect of their investigations but we remain, at all times, completely open and co-operative with them."

UKA said a "small number" of British athletes had used L-carnitine "over the past few years", calling it a "legal and scientifically legitimate supplement" for endurance athletes.

It said that, as far as it was aware, "all doses administered and methods of administration have been fully in accordance with WADA-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.

Salazar said athletes were given L-carnitine in "exactly the way USADA directed", the Sunday Times says.

USADA released a statement on Saturday confirming a report had been leaked.

The US agency 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.

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 5,000 and 10,000 metres since relocating to the United States to link up with Salazar in 2011.

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