The prospect of Mo Farah being questioned by the US Anti-Doping Agency appeared to move closer after Treniere Moser, his fellow Nike Oregon Project athlete, revealed that Usada officials had spoken to her in the past week.
Usada has been monitoring Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar and his training partner Galen Rupp for at least two years, but Moser’s revelations are the first on-the-record confirmation that investigations have moved to a more formal footing. Usada is expected to interview other Oregon Project athletes in due course, and its investigation could even include senior figures at UK Athletics, which employs Salazar as a consultant.
There is no suggestion that Moser, a four-times US 1500m women’s champion, has done anything wrong and she insisted that she had co-operated fully with Usada. “I have been compliant,” she told the Observer. “I have done my part and I’ve talked to them and I gave them everything they wanted, that’s all I can do.
“They approached me a week or so ago. I did an interview with Let’s Run and they just asked me what I said in that. That was pretty much it.”
In that interview, filmed earlier this month, Moser said that she had not seen any foul play since joining the Oregon Project in the autumn of 2012.
“My whole thing going into it was as long as I’m truthful, like I have nothing to hide, it’s not hard,” she added. “I told them everything I knew and they were really nice about it. They told me what they were looking for and I just told them what I knew.”
Moser said she did not know whether other Oregon Project athletes had also been questioned. When Salazar was asked on Saturday whether he had heard from Usada he replied: “I’m just here concentrating on the racing.”
UK Athletics was unable to confirm or deny whether Usada had been in contact. However, a source close to Farah confirmed that he had not yet been approached but would talk to any relevant bodies if asked.
There is no suggestion that Farah is under investigation and he has vehemently denied taking any performance enhancing drugs.
When questioned before this month’s Birmingham Grand Prix he also said that he had only ever taken one therapeutic use exemption, last year in Park City. “I collapsed on the floor, was taken in an ambulance and put on a drip,” he explained. “That was the only one.”
Yet if Farah is called in to talk about his time at the Oregon Project it will be another unwelcome distraction to his preparations for the world championships in Beijing in August. He has looked in fine fettle on the track and road this year but his training has been hampered by being chased by paparazzi in Portland and journalists in Font Romeu in France.
Moser, who will run in the final of the 1500m in the US trials on Sunday with her fellow Nike Oregon Project athletes Shannon Rowbury and Mary Cain, insisted that the prospect of a Usada investigation did not make her nervous. “Not at all,” she replied. “In the last 10 days I was tested twice so my whole thing is, if you want to test me, test me. It doesn’t matter, I don’t mind it.
“The only thing I do wish is that my competitors were tested as often as we are. I think in 2013 I was tested nine times and I wasn’t even close to being No1 in the world so I don’t mind it – I just wish our competitors were tested as often as we are.”
When it was suggested to her that Usada was target-testing Nike Oregon Project athletes she said: “I don’t know what it is, like I said, I’m compliant and I don’t mind doing it I just wish everyone else was too.”
The news that Farah was staying with his embattled coach appeared to come as little surprise to Salazar or his Oregon Project team-mates. In a short conversation Salazar explained: “There was never any doubt in my mind that he was going to stay.”
That view was reiterated by Cain, the hugely talented middle-distance runner who reached the 2013 world championships as a 17-year-old.“I don’t think Mo was ever really going to leave,” she said. “But honestly he is such a role model to me. Not only is he a double Olympic gold medallist, a world champion and an amazing athlete, but he’s a good friend.”
Moser was also unsurprised that Farah had decided to stay put. “We love having Mo as part of the group and I’m glad he stated that he decided to stay,” she said. “At the end of the day I know we’re not doing anything wrong and we’re doing everything right. The Oregon Project believes in clean sport and we all practise a clean sport so I really didn’t think he was going to leave.”
She also said her fellow athletes were trying to make the best of the situation despite rarely seeing Salazar since the Prefontaine Classic meeting in late May. “For the past month it’s just been phone calls,” she said. “It’s still helpful but it’s not the same. Alberto is very hands on, so for an athlete it’s very hard not to have him. But we have made the best of the situation.”