Irritated by data hack, Farah says no secrets to his success
LONDON (AP) — Another testing week off the track ended for Mo Farah in victory, followed by a further defense of his integrity.
In the penultimate race of an illustrious career, the four-time Olympic champion won the 3,000 meters at the London leg of the Diamond League in 7 minutes, 35.15 seconds on Sunday.
The adulation of the Olympic Stadium crowd was savored by Farah, embarking on a lap of honor and posing for selfies in the venue where he won his first pair of Olympic golds in 2012.
“This is home and there is no place like home,” Farah said. “This is where my life has changed. This is where I have made my name. This is where everything was normal.”
Such normality is a haven. There is a reason for Farah to be so nostalgic about 2012. It was before the intense scrutiny; before the finger of suspicion was pointed at Farah and his associates.
Farah insists he has always run cleanly and evidence has never been presented to doubt him.
But uneasy questions returned for Farah once he left the London track on a sweltering London summer afternoon on Sunday, having beaten Adel Echaal of Spain.
Questions prompted by data hacked from track’s governing body that showed Farah’s blood readings were initially flagged as “likely doping” following analysis by an unidentified expert. Another file attached to the same email published by Russian-linked hackers said the British runner’s profile was “now flagged as ‘normal’ with the last sample.”
“I am sick of repeating myself and you guys are just making something of nothing,” Farah said. “As I said, I will never ever fail a drugs test and that is who I am to people who know me. I work hard at what I do and I just carry on enjoying what I do and it comes as a little distraction.”
Farah became more irritated as the probing continued in the mixed zone where he was accompanied by his manager and spokeswoman.
“I can only control my legs and what I do and I know there are a lot of people who support me, behind me, the whole nation,” Farah said. “It is just a small majority who think to become a success you must be doing something.
“I said I will never fail a drugs test. That is who I am. I believe in clean sports and I just have to enjoy what I do, keep smiling. And let you guys do what you do.”
Not that he is happy with the media coverage of his career. Much of that has scrutinized the coach Farah stands by: Alberto Salazar, who is being investigated by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency over accusations he skirted anti-doping rules while training some of his athletes at the Nike Oregon Project.
“There is no secret to what I do,” Farah said. “My life is not as easy as people think. It is hard work, about grafting. I wish you guys would understand it a bit more and write down the facts. I do what I do, keep smiling.”
And keep running, for now. The next time Farah returns to the Olympic Stadium it will be to bid farewell, competing at the world championships before heading into retirement.
“I am getting slightly a bit more nervous and a bit, ‘Oh my god, this is it, this is it,’” Farah said, “but it is normal.”
The Olympic Stadium in east London is back in track and field mode after its first season being used for Premier League soccer by West Ham.
Nijel Amos won the 800 meters in a world-leading time of 1.43.18 on the track where he won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics. Allyson Felix prepared for the defense of her world 400 title next month with a world-leading run of her own, clocking 49.65 in her first Diamond League race of the year.
In the women’s 100, Dafne Schippers was quickest in the heats but Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica won the final in 10.94 ahead of her Dutch rival, despite wearing flat trainers.
“I do have spikes on but they are very petite,” Thompson said. “They are built especially for me and made lighter.”
After setting a world record in the women’s 100 hurdles at this meet last year, Kendra Harrison had to settle with just winning again in 12.39 seconds — 0.19 outside of her mark. The American was more than a tenth of a second faster than Sally Pearson of Australia.
In the men’s 110 hurdles, Olympic champion Aries Merritt posted what he called a “new kidney personal best” of 13.09 for first place. The American won bronze at the 2015 world championships with his kidneys barely functioning because of a genetic disorder, and he received the transplant from his sister less than a week later.
“I’m back to full health. It’s been a while since I’ve run this quickly,” Merritt said. “Every time I step on the track, I’m running better.”