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Top US athletic coach banned for doping violations

US track coach Alberto Salazar of Britain's Mo Farah reacts during the men's 10,000m race during the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA, 29 May 2015. EPA/STEVE DYKES
By Craig Ray
01 Oct 2019 0

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) has banned top coach and former New York marathon winner Alberto Salazar for four years for doping violations.

Alberto Salazar, 61, who coached multiple Olympic champion Mo Farah until 2017, was found guilty “of orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct”.

Salazar is currently head of sport apparel giant Nike’s elite long distance programme called the Nike Oregon Project (NOP), which was designed to produce elite American long-distance runners.

Jeffrey Brown, a consulting endocrinologist on the NOP, also received a four-year ban.

Several athletes on the programme turned whistle-blower on Salazar and Brown’s actions.

The athletes in these cases found the courage to speak out and ultimately exposed the truth,” Travis Tygart, Usada chief executive officer, said in a statement.

While acting in connection with the Nike Oregon Project, Mr Salazar and Dr Brown demonstrated that winning was more important than the health and well-being of the athletes they were sworn to protect.”

The Usada panel investigating accusations against Salazar for six years found that the coach had committed the following violations:

  • Administration of a prohibited method (with respect to an infusion in excess of the applicable limit);

  • Tampering and/or attempted tampering with NOP athletes’ doping control process; and

  • Trafficking and/or attempted trafficking of testosterone.

As a result of Usada’s ban, the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) deactivated Salazar’s accreditation at the current World Championships in Doha on Tuesday.

Salazar has been banned from entering the stadium. On Tuesday night, two of Salazar’s athletes will compete in the men’s 800m final.

Salazar issued a statement maintaining his innocence: “I have always ensured the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada) code is strictly followed. The Oregon Project has never and will never permit doping. I will appeal and look forward to this unfair and protracted process reaching the conclusion I know to be true. I will not be commenting further at this time.” DM

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