Mo Farah claims vindication amid rumours Usada has ended Salazar inquiry

• Farah’s coach had faced allegations of administering banned supplements
• British Athletics had urged 33-year-old to cease working with American

Mo Farah says he was right to stick with his coach, Alberto Salazar, after hearing whispers that an investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency has been quietly dropped.

Farah faced intense pressure to leave Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project training group last summer after the BBC alleged that he had given the banned supplement testosterone to Farah’s training partner Galen Rupp as a 16-year-old, and committed other ethical violations, which Salazar denies. British Athletics’s chairman, Ed Warner, also advised Farah to suspend his relationship, while shortly afterwards Usada began an investigation into the Oregon Project.

But nearly a year later they have yet to publicly announce any sanctions and when Farah was asked whether he felt vindicated in staying with Salazar he said: “For sure. What happened last year, I am past it now. Things have taken care of themselves and done what they need to do.”

When pressed about whether he heard the rumours swirling around track and field about Usada dropping their inquiry – something they will never announce publicly – he nodded. “There is some kind of chat or news, saying that ‘Oh, everything has been done, there was nothing, and they haven’t found nothing’,” he said. “Which all along I knew anyway and that is why I stuck by him.”

This time last year Farah pulled out on the morning of the Diamond League meeting here, saying he felt emotionally and physically drained in the wake of the Salazar allegations. That led to widespread criticism, but Britain’s double Olympic and world champion believes he had made the right decision.

“I don’t want to let anyone down,” he said. “I am very grateful when people come out to support me and are there. It was just in that moment, I felt I wasn’t myself, I felt like I couldn’t just give what people deserved. It’s no point saying I’m going to give it to them – and then not give it to them.”

“Last year when I was being interviewed I didn’t really want to be here, although I had to be,” added Farah, who will run in the 3,000m on Sunday afternoon. “Now it’s different, I am quite excited about the race. I am thinking about athletics and that is all I can do. This is what I train for.”

It bodes well for Farah’s hopes of retaining his titles in Rio that he feels in peak condition, even at the age of 33. “Training has gone pretty well and I am in the best shape of my life, even though I am getting on a bit,” he said, jokingly. “I am quite excited about Rio. My coach was like: ‘Mo, things are going so well, you cannot afford to do this. You need calm down a bit’.”

Farah said that he still intended to finish his track career after the world championships in London next year because he wanted to spend more time with his wife and four children. “I am definitely doing 2017, then after that I might see,” he said. “Maybe a few road races. But 2017 will be my last track year.

“I love what I do, but I am away six months of the year and I really do miss my kids. When you train for the championships everything is planned, from January to now is planned to Rio.

“It’s a struggle in training, trying to get everything right,” he added. “The competition part is easy. If you have done all the training, all you need to do is get around the track as soon as possible. Some things are not in your control, you get tripped. That is the only thing. You just stick to the plan and go with what the coach says.”

Farah said he still feels he has unfinished business with the marathon, after struggling in his only attempt in London in 2014. “I am still trying to get my head around it,” he said, smiling. “But I might not be good enough at the marathon.”

Meanwhile, Greg Rutherford says he could skip next month’s Anniversary Games in London because of a new rule that means only the top four field athletes in each Diamond League event are allowed to take their final three jumps. “It is a ridiculous idea and also dangerous for the athletes because we are not getting enough time between rounds,” he said.

“It is not conducive to good jumps either. We put a lot of force through our bodies in the long jump and it does take its toll. You wouldn’t ask a sprinter to run 100m and say ‘go and do it faster’ four minutes later.

“The interesting thing is, every single jumper I’ve spoken to says it is not a particularly good idea.”


Sean Ingle in Birmingham

The GuardianTramp

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