Farah says linking him with ‘drug misuse’ claims upsetting
LONDON (AP) — Quadruple Olympic champion Mo Farah maintained Sunday that he has always competed cleanly and never broken anti-doping rules, countering any association with “allegations of drug misuse.”
The British middle-distance runner’s statement followed fresh accusations published in the London-based Sunday Times newspaper about his American coach’s use of medicines, based on information obtained by the hacking group known as Fancy Bears. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is investigating coach Alberto Salazar, who has been accused of skirting anti-doping rules while training some of his athletes at the Nike Oregon Project.
In a statement, Farah said it was “deeply frustrating” to be forced to respond when he has “done nothing wrong.”
“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,” said Farah, who won the Olympic titles at 5,000 and 10,000 meters in 2012 and 2016.
Farah questioned the motivations of those publishing information suggesting any wrongdoing.
“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,” Farah said. “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.”
Salazar said the story has “simply recycled old allegations that have been refuted almost two years ago.”
“I have clearly and repeatedly refuted allegations directed against me and the Oregon Project,” Salazar said in a statement. “I believe in a clean sport and a methodical, dedicated, approach to training. The Oregon Project will never permit doping and all Oregon Project athletes are required to comply with the WADA Code and IAAF Rules. I do not use supplements that are banned.”
Salazar added that the “leaking of information and the litigation of false allegations in the press is disturbing, desperate and a denial of due process. I look forward to this unfair and protracted process reaching the conclusion I know to be true.”
USADA said it appeared that a draft of a report it was compiling was obtained by Fancy Bears.
“USADA can confirm that it has 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,” USADA spokesman Ryan Madden wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
“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,” Madden added.