Mo Farah splits with coach Alberto Salazar but denies it's due to doping allegations

Six-time Olympic gold medallist will return to London to spend more time with his family and link up with new coach Gary Lough

Jack de Menezes
Tuesday 31 October 2017 08:43
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Mo Farah has announced a split from long-time coach Alberto Salazar
Mo Farah has announced a split from long-time coach Alberto Salazar

Mo Farah has split with long-time coach Alberto Salazar due his desire to return to the United Kingdom with his family, the four-time Olympic gold medallist has announced.

Speaking in an interview with The Sun, 34-year-old Farah confirmed his intentions to return to London as he embarks on a new chapter in his career in marathon running, and he insisted that the decision had nothing to do with the doping allegations that have been made against Salazar.

“I'm not leaving the Nike Oregon Project and Alberto Salazar because of the doping allegations,” Farah said.

“This situation has been going on for over two years, if I was going to leave because of that I would have done.

“As I've always said, I am (a) firm believer in clean sport and I strongly believe that anyone who breaks the rules should be punished.

“If Alberto had crossed the line I would be out the door but USADA has not charged him with anything. If I had ever had any reason to doubt Alberto, I would not have stood by him all this time.”

Watch Sir Mo Farah after his 3,000m victory

Salazar was accused of administering banned supplements to athletes at the Nike Oregon Project, a claim that he strongly denied. The Sunday Times reported the allegations, and claimed that the evidence came from a leaked United States Anti-Doping Agency [Usada] report.

The accusations led to Farah facing uncomfortable questions, particularly in the build-up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games where he won gold medals in both the 5,000m and 10,000m, backing up his triumphs at London 2012.

Along with his Olympic ‘Double-Double’, Farah has also won six World Championship golds, along with two silver medals, and is widely considered as one of Britain’s greatest ever athletes – something that he credits Salazar with helping him to become.

Sir Mo Farah gets emotional after his 5,000m race

However, the Somalia-born Farah stressed that he wants to return back to London in order to spend more time with his family, and he will embark on a new relationship with Gary Lough, the former coach and current husband of Paula Ratcliffe. Having returned to the capital in the summer for the 2017 World Athletics Championships – where Farah won gold in the 10,000m and silver in the 5,000m – he admitted that it gave him the idea of moving back to London for good.

Salazar oversaw all four of Farah's Olympic gold medal wins 

“I'm leaving [Salazar and the US] simply because my family and I are moving back to London,” said Farah.

“We all loved spending our summer here [London] and [wife] Tania and I realised how much we have missed spending time with our friends and family – and the kids are so happy here, too.”

Salazar has denied all accusations of doping 

Salazar also released a statement to wish Farah well. He said: “It's been an honour and privilege to work with Mo and I wish him all the best as he moves to the marathon. I believe Gary is a great choice for him.”

Farah hopes to tap into Lough’s knowledge when it comes to marathons, having guided Radcliffe to London Marathon glory in 2002, 2003 and 2005 as well as success in the New York and Chicago marathons.

Farah has worked with Salazar since 2011 when he moved to Oregon

“I chose to work with Gary over others because I've known him for a very long time - since I was sixteen - and we get on well,” Farah added.

“Gary successfully coached Paula Radcliffe - Britain's greatest ever marathon runner who I've always looked up to since I was a kid - throughout her career and he has an in-depth understanding of what is needed to achieve real results at marathon distance.”

Farah will move back to London to spend more time with his family 

Farah’s first competitive outing will be in the capital as he competes in April’s London Marathon in 2018. “There's a certain expectation on my shoulders but it really isn't going to be easy to make the transition from track to marathon. It's a very different discipline," he said.

“I've had a great six years with Alberto, he's helped me achieve my full potential on the track but now it's time to move on.”

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