Jo Pavey has advised Mo Farah to “run a mile” from his Oregon training group after it became immersed in doping allegations.
Farah’s training partner Galen Rupp was accused in a Panorama documentary of having taken the banned substance testosterone from the age of 16, while questions were also raised regarding the approach of Farah’s coach, Alberto Salazar, to the spectre of doping within his training group at Nike’s Oregon Project. Salazar and Rupp have strongly denied the allegations.
Farah’s GB team-mate and fellow distance runner Pavey, who has been a vocal opponent of doping, said: “As an athlete, you don’t want to associate yourself with people that have got accusations and allegations against them.
“I’m not here to accuse anyone but, if there was anybody I was slightly associated with that I suddenly realised had these allegations against them – or any of my training partners – I’d run a mile.”
Accusations were levelled in the documentary by Salazar’s former No 2 at Oregon Project, Steve Magness, who claimed to have photographic evidence that Rupp had taken testosterone and prednisone, while former athlete Kara Goucher said Salazar had encouraged her to take the thyroid drug Cytomel to lose weight after the birth of her son.
While no accusations were aimed at Farah, the association is clearly one that will be of concern to him.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has pledged to crack down on the entourage surrounding an athlete if they have been found to have been involved in illegal practices.
Wada’s president, Sir Craig Reedie, said: “I’m sure Mo Farah will be in touch with UK Athletics, who know about Alberto Salazar’s ability and his record.
“As yet, things are unproven but certainly athletes should be aware that there’s a question mark listed pretty clearly in the new code of behaviour with athletes’ entourage and supporting cast.
“They have to be very careful, the people they’re dealing with, to make sure it’s in a proper and open manner. There’s the additional clause on prohibited association – we’re saying to athletes that there will be a public list of people recorded and they should avoid them.”
Wada has called on the United States Anti-Doping Agency, whose chief executive, Travis Tygart, brought down the cyclist Lance Armstrong, to investigate the claims surrounding Salazar and Rupp, and it is thought such an investigation, while not confirmed by Usada, is already ongoing.
Salazar and Rupp have steadfastly denied any wrongdoing. Salazar said: “I believe in a clean sport and hard work and so do my athletes. Apparently, that is not interesting enough for some. I am very disappointed that the BBC and ProPublica [an American website that also ran its own allegations] and their ‘reporters’ have allowed themselves to be used by individuals with agendas and have engaged in such inaccurate and unfounded journalism.
“Rather than present the facts, they opted for sensationalism and innuendo. It is particularly sad that they have attacked Galen and his excellent reputation, which he has earned through years of hard work.”
Rupp accused the BBC of “sullying his reputation” and described the programme as “inexcusable, irresponsible journalism”.
In the wake of the programme, UK Anti-Doping fired out a warning to British athletes that any cheats would be caught, wherever they were in the world. The chief executive, Nicole Sapstead, said: “If we have reason to believe that something might be going on abroad then we have the ability to test these athletes abroad, and we do.”Reuse content