Mo silent as coach faces new questions

Mo Farah's coach Alberto Salazar declared that people accusing him of contravening doping rules are "knowingly making false statements."

Mo Farah's coach Alberto Salazar declared that people accusing him of contravening doping rules are "knowingly making false statements."

Published Jun 26, 2015


London - Mo Farah remained silent on his future with Alberto Salazar on Thursday night as the American coach faced further accusations of making false statements in his 11 000 word defence against doping allegations.

Farah’s representatives had said they expected to issue a statement from the double Olympic champion in response to Salazar’s defence on Thursday.

Farah was expected to declare himself satisfied that his coach had now provided the necessary evidence that would enable them to maintain their professional relationship, and Thursday’s silence was curious to say the least. Instead the day was marked by the emergence of yet more evidence that questions the credibility of Salazar’s account.

As well as detailed medical testimonies, Salazar directed some deeply personal attacks at his accusers in a bid to refute the allegations originally made in a BBC Panorama documentary.

In particular he tried to discredit Steve Magness, a former coach for the Salazar-led Nike Oregon Project (NOP), who has given evidence against his old boss.

Salazar was vicious in his response, claiming that Magness’ ‘contract was terminated’ with the NOP in June 2012 simply because he was not up to the job. He said ‘Magness lacked the ability to coach elite athletes’, adding that he ‘lacked the personality, inter-personal skills and drive to be able to coach elite athletes’.

Salazar also said Magness ‘appeared to be intimidated by them and he retreated’.

‘He could not run a practice session by himself,’ wrote Salazar. ‘He appeared to be unable to motivate the athletes as they ran or observe them. Ultimately, my top runners refused to work with him.’

A letter published by Sportsmail directly challenged Salazar’s version of events. Written by Nike’s contracts manager, it clearly states Magness left by ‘mutual’ agreement and stresses the desire, on Nike’s part, to work with him again in the future.

Now Sportsmail can publish the contents of further emails that are sure to embarrass Salazar and concern Farah.

On May 7 2012, less than two months before Magness left the NOP, Salazar clearly states that he is happy for Magness to run an altitude training camp in Park City for his elite athletes, in his absence. A camp, the emails confirm, that was attended by his star American athlete, Galen Rupp.

Salazar informs David McHenry, a physical therapist who was also due to be at the training camp in Utah, that he will not be there for at least 10 days, instead placing Magness in charge. Magness, NOP sports psychologist Darren Treasure and Salazar’s son Alex are copied in on the email.

Salazar, making two typing errors presumably because of predictive text, writes: ‘David, I probably won’t Eden (even) be there for another ten days or longer. I’m going to stay with Matthew in Portland and keep him motivated. Steve knows the guys good enough that inhale (I have) complete confidence he’ll take care of all of them. Alberto.’

A day later Salazar - who now says he could not trust Magness to coach his athletes - asks him to take on more responsibility with top steeplechaser Lindsay Allen.

In an email Salazar writes: ‘Hi Steve, I just spoke with Lindsay and I think that’s a great idea for you to take over her coaching. I was trying to move to that eventually but didn’t want Lindsay to think that I didn’t want to coach her. She needs to train with other top woman runners to fulfil her potential. With Tara hopefully coming in you will have three women all training together. If you injure her, I will kill you. Ha ha!See you both on Friday. Alberto.’

The fact that Salazar claims he involved UK Athletics officials in sending prescription medication to Rupp - an American athlete, albeit Farah’s training partner - when he was in Birmingham might yet be a cause for concern.

Furthermore, when Farah was first quizzed about the allegations that had been made against his coach, he was asked if it concerned him that Salazar had coached Mary Slaney when she failed a drugs test in 1996. Farah said he had asked Salazar before joining the NOP, insisting that Salazar had denied it. Indeed Neil Black, the performance director at UKA, said the governing body had done its ‘due diligence’ before allowing Farah to move to Portland.

Denials that Salazar ever worked with Slaney have since been undermined by evidence to the contrary, including a passage in Salazar’s own book where he says he did coach the American.

On Thursday night UKA said no statements will be made on Salazar until their Performance Oversight Group has completed its review of Farah’s training programme.

Daily Mail

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