'Trustworthy' Alberto Salazar backed by Nike Oregon Project runners

Salazar has yet to make his anticipated public rebuttal of the accusations

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The Independent Online

Two leading Nike Oregon Project athletes have leapt to the defence of their under-fire coach Alberto Salazar to back him amid the doping allegations of the past two weeks.

Salazar has yet to make his anticipated public rebuttal of the accusations levelled against him but two of the athletes to train alongside Mo Farah under the American, Cameron Levins and Shannon Rowbury, said they believed in the coach despite the allegations now coming from 17 different sources.

Levins, who won 10,000 metre bronze at last year’s Commonwealth Games for Canada, said of the allegations: “It’s hard for me to address them specifically just because I’ve only been a part of the group a couple of years and it seems all the allegations are before that time.

“I can comment on Galen [Rupp, who has been accused of taking testosterone from the age of 16, a claim he denies] and Alberto. They have been very trustworthy. There is nothing I have ever seen that I would attribute to any of these allegations.

“I’ve never been pushed in anything considered a grey area that a lot of people have sort of implied. I trust them. They have never given me any reason not to. I know Alberto and Galen are doing whatever they can to dispute these allegations and prove them wrong. I trust them to do that.”

Meanwhile, Rowbury, an American former 1500m world championship bronze medallist, echoed the sentiments of Levins with regards to her coach, whom she teamed up with when her former coach John Cook retired at the end of the 2013 season.

“I can speak from my own experience and say that Alberto has been a really great coach to me and I’ve never seen anything that would make me question him or my team-mates,” she said.

Cook, in contrast, was previously more scathing of Salazar when he said he was “not surprised” by the allegations against his former boss – Cook used to work as an assistant coach to Salazar at the Oregon Project. Of Cook’s comments, Rowbury added: “I was very disappointed he said what he did.”

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