By Ros Satar
- Beleaguered double Olympic champion releases statement thanking fans and family for support over last two weeks
- BBC investigation alleged Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar practiced doping techniques with other athletes, but no suggestion that Farah has done anything wrong
- Daily Mail reported two missed drugs tests prior to the London 2012 Olympics
British double Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah continues to battle against the storm of controversy surrounding his coach Alberto Salazar, issuing a statement, after a recent article by the Daily Mail regarding two missed tests.
In a statement on his Facebook page, he continued to state categorically that the allegations were surrounding his coach, and at no time had he taken performance enhancing drugs. The BBC investigation at no time suggested that Farah had been involved in any wrong doing.
Farah had emotionally defended himself in a press conference, saying that he felt his name was being ‘dragged through the mud’ at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting, before withdrawing from the event.
He said, at the time: “This week has been very stressful and taken a lot out of me. I have not been able to focus properly on today’s race and after the events of the last few days I feel emotionally and physically drained.
“I want to run well in the World Championships in Beijing (22-30 August) and have decided it is better for me to go back to the US, seek answers to my questions and get back into training.”
Farah headed back to the his US base, to demand answers from Salazar and stated that if the allegations were true, he would be the first to leave him. At the time the news broke though, European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey said if she had been in that position, she would put immediate distance between them.
She said in an interview with the BBC: “As an athlete, you don’t want to associate yourself with people that have got accusations and allegations against them. I’m not here to accuse anyone, but if there was anybody I was slightly associated with that I suddenly realised had these accusations against them – or any of my training partners – I’d run a mile.”
Salazar has assured Farah that the allegations are false and ‘will soon be providing evidence’ to that effect.
While Farah was preparing for his next meeting at the Diamond League in Monaco, the Daily Mail reported that he was one of nine athletes who missed a drugs test in 2011. They also draw attention to a second missed test in 2010, when he was not training with Salazar.
It must be stressed here though, that a missed test does not mean a failed test, and the BBC’s Tom Fordyce published a fascinating article on what is involved in drugs tests and how the margins of potentially missing a test are very thin. Read that article here.
Since the Daily Mail report, several other British athletes came forward to speak of their near misses with the ‘whereabouts’ system. Kelly Sotherton, who won Olympic Bronze in the heptathlon in 2004 same out in support of Farah.
She said: A missed test doesn’t mean you are doping. It may mean you have been a little bit careless. That doesn’t make you a drugs cheat. I was very organised and I made a slip of a number by one day. That’s how a missed test can happen.”
Farah’s statement is in full here:
I have never taken performance enhancing drugs in my life and I never will. Over the course of my career I have taken hundreds of drugs tests and every single one has been negative. I’ve fully explained the only two tests in my career that I have ever missed, which the authorities understood, and there was never any suggestion that these were anything more than simple mistakes.
The last two weeks have been the toughest of my life – with rumours and speculation about me that are completely false – and the impact this has had on my family and friends has left me angry, frustrated and upset. In particular, the media pressure on my young family and my wife, who is 5 months pregnant, is extremely painful, especially as I’m away training for some important races.
As I made clear, I went to Portland to speak to Alberto Salazar and demand answers. He reassured me that the claims are false and that he will soon be providing evidence to make that clear. Until then I will not be commenting further on the allegations.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fans, family, friends and teammates for all the great support they have provided over the last few days and hope that I will now be allowed to focus on my training and winning medals for my country.
Farah is scheduled to run in the Diamond League meeting in Monacao in July.