LONDON, Oct 31 ― Long-distance running star Mo Farah is leaving long-time coach Alberto Salazar to return home to Britain but denies the split is related to doping allegations surrounding the Oregon-based guru.
Farah, who retired from the track earlier this year after a glittering career including 10 gold medals at the Olympics and world championships, is switching his attention to road racing.
The 34-year-old, who will run the 2018 London Marathon, will be coached by the husband of women’s marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, Gary Lough.
Farah, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, said he is coming home to London because he and his family missed living in the city where his eldest daughter Rhianna was born.
“I’m moving back home. London…. I really miss home. I’m going to be back there,” he said. “I’m very excited.
“I’ll no longer be coached by Alberto Salazar ― working with the Oregon Project. I want to thank each member of the Oregon Project and Alberto for what he’s done over the years.
“So I’m coming back and my new coach is going to be Gary Lough, who coached Paula Radcliffe through her marathon so I’m very excited to start a new project, a new start.”
Lough helped to guide Radcliffe’s career in which the British athlete became established as the world’s best women’s marathon runner and won a host of big-city races, including London and New York.
Speaking in a video on his Twitter account, Farah added: “I can’t wait to be back home and can’t wait to see my team Arsenal at the Emirates.”
The Somalia-born runner began training with Salazar in 2011 at his Oregon Project camp in Portland, and won his first world title the same year in the 5,000m at the Daegu World Championships, in South Korea.
Salazar’s training base, however, has been the subject of intense scrutiny from the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
A leaked USADA report this year asserted that Salazar had likely violated drug protocols, later denied by the coach.
But Farah told Britain’s Sun newspaper: “I’m not leaving the Nike Oregon Project and Alberto Salazar because of the doping allegations.”
Farah, who won Olympic gold in the 5,000 metres and 10,000m at the London Olympics in 2012 and repeated the feat four years later in Rio, stressed he would have quit the partnership with Salazar if allegations against the coach had been shown to be true.
“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,” he said.
“If Alberto had crossed the line I would be out the door but USADA (the US Anti-Doping Agency) 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.”
Farah said family reasons had driven the move.
“We want the kids to grow up in the UK,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do for my family. But both Nike Oregon Project and Alberto are based in the USA, so it just would not be possible to continue our relationship from London.” ― AFP