Wednesday 24 May 2017

Alberto Salazar denies doping allegations: 'At best they are misinformed. At worst, they are lying'

Alberto Salazar has had a number of allegations levelled against him in recent weeks
Alberto Salazar has had a number of allegations levelled against him in recent weeks

Athletics coach Alberto Salazar has insisted he would never permit doping from his athletes and demanded that allegations made against him are retracted.

The Cuban-born coach posted a lengthy open letter on the Nike Oregon Project website, saying: "I believe in a clean sport and hard work. I will never permit doping."

A recent BBC Panorama programme alleged the Portland-based coach had overseen the use of banned substances by Galen Rupp.

Of the allegations, Salazar said: "At best they are misinformed. At worst, they are lying," and he called upon the BBC and American-based investigative journalism organisation ProPublica to withdraw them.

"I told both media outlets that their stories contained false information before they were published. I have now offered evidence that they are false," he said. "I hereby demand the BBC and ProPublica immediately publish a retraction of their false statements."

Salazar's statement, almost 12,000 words long, dealt with each allegation specifically and in detail.

Panorama alleged that Salazar was involved in doping Rupp, silver medallist at the 2012 London Olympics behind Mo Farah in the 10,000 metres, when the American was only 16 years of age.

However, Salazar pointed to Rupp's previously disclosed allergy and breathing issues, saying: "Galen has never taken a banned substance in violation of the WADA Code.

"Claims made around Galen's prednisone use are false.

"Claims made around Galen's use of TUEs (theraputic use exemptions) and manipulation of the TUE system are false.

"Galen has only received two TUEs in his running career since 2010.

"Galen is one of the hardest working, most honest and genuine athletes I have ever known. Galen has never taken a banned substance in violation of the WADA Code."

No allegations have been made against Farah, who is also trained by Salazar and is Rupp's training partner, but the double Olympic champion has been forced to defend his reputation since the documentary aired.

Farah recently travelled to Oregon to meet Salazar and seek reassurances from the coach.

Salazar appeared to address the position that athletes under his guidance have found themselves in since the allegations were made.

"I am saddened that these false allegations have been allowed to run with little care for the carnage in their wake," he said. "It is our reputations they have harmed.

"Some have tried to console me by saying public attacks like these are the price of success in today's world. That's not my world. That's not the Oregon Project. Here, success is earned with talent, hard work, dedication and fair play.... and that's how it is going to stay."

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