Mo Farah injection allegations: what is the reaction?

Panorama claims athlete changed story over performance-enhancing supplement

(Image credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Fresh questions are being asked about Mo Farah’s relationship with his banned former coach Alberto Salazar, after a documentary found that the runner changed his account of receiving performance-enhancing injections.

BBC Panorama last night revealed that the four-time Olympic medalist repeatedly denied receiving an injection of a controversial supplement ahead of the 2014 London Marathon, before later changing his story.

The documentary claimed that Farah was interviewed by US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) in 2015, as part of its probe into his former coach, Alberto Salazar.

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Farah was asked whether he had been given L-carnitine, a closely regulated performance-enchancing supplement, before the previous year’s London Marathon. Transcripts seen by Panorama show that he denied having been given an injection in the initial interview with Usada.

However, the documentary reports that he then spoke with UK Athletics’ head of distance running, Barry Fudge, and returned to the interview room as the investigators were preparing to leave. It was only then that Farah admitted he had been given the injection.

The transcript shows Farah telling Usada: “So I just wanted to come clean, sorry guys, and I did take it at the time and I thought I didn’t.”

The Usada investigator then asks: “A few days before the race, with Alberto present and your doctor and Barry Fudge, and you’re telling us all about that now but you didn’t remember any of that when I kept asking you about this?” Farah responds: “It all comes back for me, but at the time I didn’t remember.”

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The Times says that Fudge and other key figures at UK Athletics, including former performance director Neil Black and the former doctor Rob Chakraverty, questioned whether the injections were in “the spirit of the sport”.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that “Olympic hero Sir Mo Farah looks like a man who is hiding something,” adding that “it is getting ever more justifiable to ask hard questions of Farah and to delve into what he says to see if it stacks up”.

The Straits Times says the “cloud over Farah has thickened”, with The Guardian noting that the athlete is “facing questions over his credibility”.

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) says they would “welcome the opportunity” to examine any fresh evidence uncovered by the Panorama investigation into Farah’s banned former coach Salazar, Sky News notes.

In a letter to the BBC, Farah’s lawyers said: “Mr Farah understood the question one way and as soon as he left the room he asked Mr Fudge and immediately returned… to clarify and it is plain the investigators were comfortable with this explanation.

“It is not against [World Anti-Doping Agency] rules to take L-carnitine as a supplement within the right quantities. Mr Farah is a human being and not a robot. Interviews are not memory tests.”

The 36-year-old British athlete has never failed a drugs test and is not accused of any wrongdoing.

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