John Rohatinsky backs drug allegations made against Alberto Salazar

• Rohatinsky believed Galen Rupp’s improvement was ‘highly suspicious’
• At least 17 individuals have now spoken out against Salazar
• Documentary alleges banned drug use

The pressure on Mo Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar continued to intensify when another of his former athletes said he backed the “full extent” of the allegations against the American coach.

John Rohatinsky, who ran at the Nike Oregon Project between July 2007 and July 2009, did not make any fresh revelations but used a detailed Facebook post to say he believed the testimonies of other former members of Salazar’s training group and that he thought Galen Rupp’s improvement from 2006 to 2012 was “highly suspicious”.

“I absolutely believe the full extent of the evidence brought forth in the report/documentary by all the witnesses – the Gouchers, John Stiner, and Steve Magness,” he wrote. “I know the Gouchers personally and thank them for their work on this. I also was with the team and John Stiner at the altitude camp he spoke about in Park City, and believe his report as well.”

In the BBC Panorama documentary Kara Goucher alleged Salazar had coached Rupp to get a therapeutic use exemption for an intravenous drip before the 2011 World Championships. Under Wada rules, such drips are prohibited and anyone caught manipulating the TUE process to get one would be liable for a ban. She also claimed Salazar tried to get her to take prescription thyroid medicine to lose weight after the birth of her son.

Stiner was the masseur who alleged he saw a bottle of Androgel, a testosterone gel, in Salazar’s training camp in Park City in 2008. And it was Magness who made the most serious allegation of all, telling Panorama he had documented evidence that Salazar had given the banned steroid testosterone to Rupp when he was 16.

“I have never met Steve but from all accounts believe him to be an honest individual. I firmly believe that any and all performance-enhancing drugs activity within the NOP while I was there was limited to Galen Rupp,” Rohatinsky said.

Among the charges against Salazar are that he gave the banned steroid testosterone to Rupp when he was 16, coached Rupp to get a TUE so he could use an intravenous drip before the 2011 World Championships and flouted several other doping rules. Salazar and Rupp deny all charges and there is no suggestion that Farah has done anything wrong.

According to the American news website ProPublica, at least 17 people who have worked with Salazar have now spoken out against him. Rohatinsky, the latest person to come forward, said he had become particularly suspicious seeing Rupp win a 10,000m silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics behind Farah.

“Watching that race live was surreal,” he said. “Seeing someone I had trained with consistently for two years not too long before – and beaten several times in races in the years prior to that in college – push through that last lap and accelerate on the homestretch to beat the likes of the Bekele brothers was incredible. And when I say incredible I mean it in the literal sense of the word. How does that amount of progress happen in that short a time frame? Supporters always point to hard work but we all worked our butts off. It reminds me of the Lance Armstrong commercial, What Am I On?

“The entire time I was with the group there was always what I would call a wall of separation between Alberto/Galen and the rest of the group. Galen was very much Alberto’s son while the rest of the group were his athletes. In saying this I will give credit to Alberto, he worked his butt off for all of us and was very dedicated to taking care of the needs of everyone in the group. But that wall was always there and the level of secrecy and seclusion was definitely palpable.”

Meanwhile tThe chair of UK Athletics Ed Warner has told the BBC’s Sportsweek that his organisation had spoken to Farah “very frequently” over the past week and had no fears that he would return to top form later in the summer. “All things considered I think he’s in a good frame of mind in difficult circumstances,” he said. “He is going to get out there and show the great athlete he is in the summer, I am convinced of that.”

But Lord Coe, who is running for the presidency of the IAAF, global athletics’ governing body, agreed it had “not been a good period” for the sport. He also admitted he would “probably not” sever ties with Salazar if he was in Farah’s shoes.

“If Mo is satisfied that there’s nothing to answer then he will want to keep what has been an extremely good coaching and training relationship,” he said. “I’m sure he will be weighing all that up but dependent upon the answer Mo gives. We have to be very sure that the testimony that has been given stands scrutiny.”


Sean Ingle

The GuardianTramp

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