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Alberto Salazar issues point-by-point denial on doping allegations

Thursday 25th June , 2015 8:00 am
Alberto Salazar (Image credit: Imago)
Alberto Salazar (Image credit: Imago)

American coach Alberto Salazar has again denied allegations of doping made by the BBC, which he previously said had adversely affected his Olympic medallists Mo Farah and Galen Rupp.

American coach Alberto Salazar has issued a 12,000-word denial over claims that he has been involved in doping. Salazar is being investigated by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to determine if anti-doping rules may have been violated, according to Reuters.

Salazar has previously issued only brief statements about the allegations, but on Wednesday launched into his huge explanation of all the claims made against him.

“I believe in a clean sport and hard work and so do my athletes,” Salazar said, labelling the claims “rumour, innuendo, malicious lies.

“I will never permit doping. I have not and will not condone any athlete I train using a banned substance and would never encourage any athlete to use a banned substance.

“We have worked very, very hard to achieve our successes. I am saddened that these false allegations have been allowed to run with little care for the carnage in their wake.”

Salazar’s open letter only mentions Mo Farah in passing. There is no suggestion that Farah has been involved in doping.

Most of the focus is on defending Galen Rupp, Farah’s training partner. Salazar also spends a lot of time trying to discredit former colleague Steve Magness, a coach who worked as Salazar’s assistant at the Oregon Project, claiming that Magness was a “poor coach” and that he had become infatuated with a female athlete.

A picture taken on September 4, 2011 shows US coach Alberto Salazar (C) hugging US athlete Bernard Lagat (R) and US athlete Galen Rupp following the men's 5,000 metres final at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championsh - AFP

A picture taken on September 4, 2011 shows US coach Alberto Salazar (C) hugging US athlete Bernard Lagat (R) and US athlete Galen Rupp following the men’s 5,000 metres final at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championsh – AFP

The USADA is seeking documents and interviewing witnesses, the person, who is familiar with the investigation, said.

The probe has been ongoing and began before the BBC television programme Panorama in association with American website ProPublica made a series of allegations, the source said.

The allegations included that Salazar had given Olympic 10,000 metres silver medallist Galen Rupp the banned anabolic steroid testosterone.

USADA would not comment on whether an investigation was taking place.

“USADA takes all reports of doping seriously and we aggressively follow up on all information we receive in order to fulfil our oath to protect clean athletes and the integrity of competition,” it said in a statement.

The Cuban-born Salazar, who has worked as a consultant to British Athletics for two years, wrote in an open letter published on Wednesday: “I believe in a clean sport and hard work and so do my athletes.

“I will never permit doping. At no time do we use science in violation of the WADA Code. We strictly adhere to competition and anti-doping rules at all times.

“I have not and will not condone any athlete I train using a banned substance and would never encourage any athlete to use a banned substance.”

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Alberto Salazar – Reuters

Farah, 32, won the 5,000 and 10,000 metres double at the 2012 London Olympics. American Rupp, 29, took the silver medal in the 10,000.

Rupp, the American record holder at 10,000 metres and six-times national champion, plans to defend his title at the U.S. world championships trials in Eugene, Oregon, on Thursday.

He has denied ever doping.

British Athletics said the content of Salazar’s statement would be referred to their performance oversight group for consideration in their ongoing internal review into the relationship between Salazar and Farah.

In his point-by-point response Salazar criticised the BBC and ProPublica. However Stephen Engelberg, editor in chief of ProPublica said: “Mr. Salazar’s statement confirms some details of our story, and purports to contradict other things that were not actually in the story.

“We will soon be detailing this, but can say now that we see nothing in the statement that would merit a correction.”

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Galen Rupp (R) and Bernard Lagat finish in the men’s 5,000 meters final at the U.S. Olympic athletics trials in Eugene, – Reuters

The BBC also stood by its claims.

A BBC spokesperson said: “We are confident in our programme and that it was right to air the allegations of the witnesses who appeared on it.”

Among the allegations levelled at Salazar was that he had coached Rupp and other athletes on ways to manipulate therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs), in which athletes can use otherwise banned medications or treatments for medical reasons.

Salazar defended Rupp and said he had been treated for many years for asthma and Hashimoto’s disease, a thyroid disorder, but under medical supervision.

“Galen takes asthma medication so he can breathe normally –not so he can run better,” he said.

Using statistics to back up his claims, he stated: “I do not push my athletes to take prescription medicine that is not needed as alleged in the BBC/ProPublica stories.

“Again, the BBC/ProPublica writers did not want the facts to get in the way of their stories…”

The IAAF said it “is very comfortable with the current policy on TUEs — but this does not mean that in future there may not be changes.”

Source: Eurosport

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