Farah fit for Commonwealths, but Welsh runner in drugs row
Middle-distance runner Gareth Warburton to miss Glasgow Games after anti-doping violation
With less than a week to go before the start of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow there were mixed emotions for the organisers on Wednesday. On the one hand there was confirmation from Mo Farah that he will be fit to compete in the 5000m and 10,000m after recovering from illness. That announcement, however, was overshadowed by the news that Welsh' 800m runner Gareth Warburton has withdrawn from the Games for an anti-doping violation.
Warburton is one of Britain's most experienced middle-distance runners, representing Team GB in the 2012 London Olympics and finishing fourth for Wales in the Commonwealth Games 800m final four years ago in Delhi.
The 31-year-old from Caernarfon is of an age when most endurance runners have their best days behind them, but he has been in cracking form this season, clocking a time recently of 1:46.75, the third fastest time by a British athlete this year.
Now Warburton has reportedly tested positive for an unnamed prohibitive substance, and the news has left him in "great shock". He said: "I would like to state that I have not knowingly taken any banned substance. As a professional athlete, I have always supported and have been an advocate of clean sport. Nothing has changed in this regard."
The UK Anti-Doping agency emphasised the Welshman remains innocent until his case is determined by a full hearing before the National Anti-Doping Panel, but Warburton has withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games. "I'd like to take this opportunity to wish the best to all my team-mates heading to the Commonwealth Games and apologise that I won't be able to join them as part of Team Wales," said Warburton in a statement.
One man who will be in Glasgow, however, is double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah. The Englishman pulled out of last weekend's Diamond League meeting in Glasgow because of illness, thought to be linked to the abdominal pains that saw him hospitalised in the USA at the start of the month. That led to speculation that Farah might not make it to Glasgow, a repeat of the situation in 2010 when he missed the Games in Delhi citing fatigue.
But Farah took to Twitter on Wednesday to send a message to his legion of fans. "Training is going good! Next stop Commonwealth Games," he declared from his Pyrenean training base in Font Romeu.
The Commonwealth Games begin on Wednesday and Farah goes first in the 5,000m final on 27 July before lining up in the 10,000m final on 1 August.