UKA has “no concerns” over Farah

Published: Saturday 6th June 2015 by The News Editor

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UK Athletics has “absolutely no concerns” over the conduct and coaching methods of Alberto Salazar in relation to Mo Farah after the American was accused of administering banned substances in a BBC documentary.

The Panorama documentary on Wednesday night alleged that Salazar was involved in doping his athlete Galen Rupp, silver medallist at the 2012 London Olympics behind Farah in the 10,000 metres, when the American was only 16 years of age.

A statement from UK Athletics on Saturday read: “Following the broadcast of BBC’s Panorama programme on Wednesday, UK Athletics has carefully considered the content.

“Whilst acknowledging the gravity of the allegations, UK Athletics can confirm it has had absolutely no concerns over the conduct and coaching methods of Alberto Salazar in relation to Mo Farah or in his role as an endurance consultant.”

The UKA statement added, however, that its board had met and put in place a group to undertake a “focused review of the performance management system surrounding Mo Farah and the endurance programme, engaging relevant independent experts where required”.

The review will begin immediately, and has been “welcomed and supported” by Farah and performance director Neil Black.

Salazar, who won the New York marathon three years in a row between 1980 and 1982 and was also a Boston marathon winner, has worked with Farah since 2011 and has coached the Briton’s training partner Rupp for 14 years.

Neither Salazar nor Rupp appeared in the BBC programme, but both men protested their innocence in statements.

There is no suggestion that Farah has broken any rules, and the Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion told the BBC: ”I have not taken any banned substances and Alberto has never suggested that I take a banned substance.”

UKA said it regarded the Salazar allegations with “utmost seriousness” and backed the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to get to the bottom of the matter.

“As an organisation with a proven anti-doping commitment, we view the allegations made in regard of non-British athletes who have been coached by Alberto Salazar with utmost seriousness,” it read.

“It is the role of the appropriate independent anti-doping agencies to investigate these further.

“We repeat our call for them to do so at the earliest opportunity, and to share those findings so that we can take any appropriate actions.

“With regard to British athletes, we believe that the process/safeguards and systems that we have in place around our own athletes are appropriate.”

The BBC programme also heard claims testosterone was seen on several occasions by athletes and staff and that Salazar tested testosterone cream on a human subject, to find out how much it would take to trigger a positive drugs test.

It is also alleged Salazar encouraged the use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions which allow athletes to use a banned substance or method to treat a legitimate medical condition.

Speaking at a press conference in Birmingham ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix event, Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford was cautious not to condemn anyone before anything was proven, but expressed his wish not to see athletics go the same was as cycling in terms of its reputation for doping.

“I watched the documentary and everything else, and my view on it is that the right people are looking into it and investigating it and everything else,” the 28-year-old said.

“I assume once all that’s done we’ll get a better picture of where everything is and what’s been made of it all.

“With regards to my view on it, though, I’m so far away from it I don’t really have an opinion either way.

“If people are doing wrong in the sport you don’t want them in the sport, but nothing’s been proved, so until that happens we can’t have an opinion either way.”

He continued: “Any form of drugs scandal in any sport. It’s very, very bad for the sport, obviously, because we don’t want youngsters coming through wanting to do the sport thinking you have to take drugs to win.

“You don’t want anything along those lines to make the sport look a bit like other sports, where, sadly… I like cycling, but a lot of people think that you have to be on drugs to do well in cycling.

“I never, ever want to see athletics go that way.

“And sadly over the last couple of years we’ve had a lot of scandals coming out, whether that’s national governing bodies or individuals.

“My stance is that if somebody is cheating they shouldn’t be involved in the sport, but until anything’s proven you can’t go on a massive offensive and say ‘anyone who’s ever had a drug allegation you need to get rid of’.”

Published: Saturday 6th June 2015 by The News Editor

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