Track great Brendan Foster says double Olympic champion Mo Farah is clean and insists he fully expects to commentate on the London 2012 5,000m and 10,000m gold medallist defending his titles in Rio next year.
Farah has been dragged into a doping row following allegations that his American coach Alberto Salazar gave another runner a banned substance and used prescription drugs to boost his athletes. Salazar denies the claims.
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The Briton, 32, has not been accused of a doping violation. He issued a statement declaring his innocence last week after it emerged that he missed two out-of-competition drug tests in 2010 and 2011.
Foster is convinced that Farah is clean, arguing that his work with Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project, which began in 2011, has yielded only minor improvements to what was already a rare talent.
“I know Mo really well, I’ve known him since he was a kid and he was a rare talent then,” Foster told City A.M.
“He started getting better in 2010, won the European Championships at 5,000m and 10,000m – which no Briton had ever done – and it was after that he went to America. And when he went, he improved in a few areas, but he hasn’t improved significantly.
“They’ve polished him up, but he’s not much better than he was back then. I’ve spoken to him about all this stuff. He hates this controversy and I’m utterly convinced that Mo Farah has never ever taken any performance enhancing drugs.”
So sure is Foster, a former European 5,00m champion and 10,000m Commonwealth gold medallist, of Farah’s innocence that he has vowed to quit his role as an athletics broadcaster if he is proved wrong.
“If I believed he was taking drugs or if it was ever proven that he’d taken drugs I wouldn’t turn up. I’d say ‘that’s it, the game is over for me’,” added the 67-year-old, whose Great Run Company is staging its latest event, the Great Newham London Run, at the Olympic Park next month.
“I fully anticipate being in Rio commentating on Mo and telling the British public that I believe in Mo – and if I’m proven wrong then you won’t hear me again.”