Christine Ohuruogu has leapt to the defence of Mo Farah after the Briton was dragged into the doping controversy concerning his United States-based coach Alberto Salazar and training partner Galen Rupp.
Ohuruogu was the last high-profile British athlete to be caught up in a doping row when she was suspended in 2006 for missing three out-of-competition drugs tests.
Farah has not been accused of any wrongdoing and hit out over the weekend at his name “being dragged through the mud” by his association with both Salazar and Rupp, who it is alleged by a BBC Panorama programme have been guilty of doping. The latter pair have denied any wrongdoing.
Ohuruogu agreed that Farah’s reputation had “taken a big hit”. With regards to question marks about Farah, she said: “Most athletes I talk to know that it’s a load of rubbish.
“Anything like this is damaging not just to the sport but to the athletes that it involves. These are people’s lives that are on the line. These are accusations and they have to be treated as such.”
The former Olympic and current 400m World champion is well versed to being at the centre of the media glare after the British Olympic Association handed her a lifetime ban from the Olympic Games following her suspension in the wake of the three missed tests.
She took the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and argued successfully against the lifetime ban, clearing her to compete at the Beijing Games where she was crowned Olympic champion.
Having been through that, she has empathy for Farah: “For me, it was loads of negative comments that were based on misjudged, misguided evidence or people just making stuff up.”
The 31-year-old admitted she struggled in the aftermath of the ban and the ensuing court case and, having succeeded in rebuilding her reputation, she called on her fellow World champion to focus on moving forward rather than the negative press.
“It does take its toll but you can’t live under that negativity,” she said. “I decided not to and to make sure that I focused on my sport and moved on from that.
“People are always going to say stuff and do stuff, it doesn’t mean you have to react to it every time. I and many others are not going to allow negativity to stop them going where they need to go.
“Mo’s such a gifted talent, I’ve known him for so long, seen how he’s changed and developed and become such a great ambassador for the sport and done it so humbly. He doesn’t shout and scream about what he’s done, he just works. We don’t always see that in a lot of athletes.
“He’s got a lot to uphold in Beijing at the World Championships so I think it’s important he just gets stuck in and cuts out the noise because, at the end of the day, it’s just a distraction, it’s something that’s going to hinder him.
“I think it’s going to hinder his development towards Beijing so he just needs to try and cut it out and move on with his preparation into the World Championships.”Reuse content