Noose tightening on Sir Mo Farah

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 00:00 |
Sir Mo Farah.

London, Wednesday

It was a witch-hunt, we were glibly informed. The truth would be out. Well, now it has and it transpires the witches were real. Sir Mo Farah does have questions to answer, and so do UK Athletics. Plenty of them.

About Farah’s time with Alberto Salazar. About what he knew, or even suspected. About those two missed drugs tests prior to the 2012 London Olympics. About infusions. About Galen Rupp.

About an investigation that wasn’t. About the continued employment of a man we now know corrupted his sport.

It is no longer old ground, not in the context of the four-year ban announced on Tuesday for a coach who helped set Farah’s career on its meteoric trajectory.

Farah is a national hero and icon who has never failed a drugs test, and for that reason has previously been able to dismiss doubts over his association with Salazar as mischief-making or worse.

In this, he was helped by some useful idiots. Nothing was proven, only alleged. It was a groundless inquisition. Yet the verdict of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) changes it all, damning in its detail and evidence.

Trafficking testosterone, interfering with the doping control process, administering prohibited IV infusions, giving athletes medication unnecessarily, some of which may even have been dangerous.

For a coach, this is as dirty as it gets. And Salazar was Farah’s guide as he rose to become the greatest long-distance track runner on the planet. Too right there are questions to be answered, too right there are threads that must be tugged.

Not just around Farah’s involvement, but that of UK Athletics (UKA), too. Farah can maintain his innocence and USADA cast no aspersions on individual athletes.

It is different for UKA and their performance director Neil Black. Salazar was perceived as a miracle-worker with Farah, who improved incredibly as a part of his Nike Oregon Project.

As a result, Salazar was welcomed into the UKA fold. He was a paid consultant to their endurance programme from December 2013, he was still in their employ when the allegations that form the basis for this investigation surfaced in 2015 and, like Farah, only parted company when the USADA case became real in 2017.

Previously, Black had said he expected Salazar to demonstrate he had no case to answer. What does Black say now it transpires the case was unanswerable?

He was part of an executive team who placed Britain’s best athletes in the care of a drugs cheat, a man who USADA say put winning medals before the well-being of those he coached.  -

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