In Depth

Farah hits back after more claims against coach Salazar

British Olympic champion insists he's clean and attacks Sunday Times, but he should learn from Bradley Wiggins

Sir Mo Farah has insisted he is a "clean athlete" after more claims against his coach, Alberto Salazar, emerged over the weekend.

A US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) report leaked to the Sunday Times by the Fancy Bears hacking project, claims that Salazar "abused prescription medicines and used prohibited drug infusions to boost testosterone levels and the performance of his runners at Nike's flagship training project in Oregon", says the paper.

"Farah and other athletes coached by Alberto Salazar were given infusions of a research supplement based on the chemical L-carnitine," it claims. "L-carnitine is not a banned substance for athletes but infusions of more than 50ml in the space of six hours are prohibited."

The report, which dates back to March 2016, also says Farah and other athletes were "given prescription drugs when they had no medical need because Salazar believed that the medications would lead them to run faster in competition", says the paper.

Salazar first hit the headlines when claims were made about his methods in a BBC documentary in 2015. But Farah has hit back against the latest allegations. "It's deeply frustrating that I'm having to make an announcement on this subject," said the 33-year-old world and Olympic champion.

"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."

He also accused the Sunday Times of using his name to sell the story and said it was "entirely unfair to make assertions when it is clear from their own statements that I have done nothing wrong".

But The Times has hit back and says that Farah's "protestations that he is being unfairly dragged into the story are disingenuous".

The paper's chief sports writer Matt Dickinson writes: "UK Athletics is, quite rightly, being asked to explain what it knew about Salazar's highly controversial exploration of the legal and ethical frontiers. Farah should, at the very least, be able to understand why that also raises questions for him."

Sean Ingle of The Guardian agrees. "Farah must realise that he risks suffering reputational damage by sticking with Salazar," he says. "He should look at how Bradley Wiggins has been treated after the revelations that he used a therapeutic use exemption to realise that he is not alone."

He also notes that before Farah moved to the US in 2010 he was not a star and had finished sixth in the 5,000m at the 2007 world championships and seventh in the same event in 2009. "Since then he has won nine gold medals and a silver at Olympics and world championships," says Ingle.

Farah has been loyal to Salazar since allegations were first made almost two years ago. Nine months ago, amid rumours that Usada had dropped an investigation into Salazar, Farah said he felt "vindicated", says Dan Roan of the BBC. "This will raise more questions over that association.

"Last year Farah distanced himself from another controversial coach – Somalian Jama Aden. And he could now face renewed pressure to do something similar with a man who we now know Usada is still looking into."

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