Mo Farah has accused sections of the media of trying to “destroy” his achievements on the track with unfounded allegations against his legendary coach Alberto Salazar and insinuations about how he attained his success.
Speaking the morning after his glittering championship track career came to an end with a painful 5,000m defeat in the London Stadium, Britain’s most successful ever athlete insisted his 10 world and Olympic titles had come about purely through hard work.
“History doesn’t lie,” Farah told his critics. “What I achieved over the years, people are proud of me. You can write what you like. The fact is I’ve achieved what I have from hard work and dedication. Putting my balls on the line, year after year and delivering for my country.”
As the exchanges grew more heated, Farah asked why some journalists kept bringing up his relationship with Salazar, who helped turn him from a very good athlete into a great one after he joined the coach’s Nike Oregon Project training group in late 2010. Salazar has been under investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for the past two years but has always vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
“It’s like a broken record, repeating myself,” said Farah, who gave everything during a thrilling last lap only to finish second to the Ethiopian Muktar Edris on Saturday night. “If I’ve crossed the line, if Alberto’s crossed the line, why bring it up year after year, making it into headlines? I’ve achieved what I have achieved – you’re trying to destroy it.”
As Farah pointed out, while Salazar has been his coach on paper – which includes writing his workouts – the day-to-day training has been facilitated by the British team. “How many races has he been to this year for me or last year?” Farah asked. “He hasn’t been to any.
“I‘ve been pretty much by myself with the guidance of Alberto, as you all know. I was capable of doing the job. It didn’t make any difference to me. I know what I wanted to do. I was in a training camp for the British team.”
Farah also suggested that parts of the media, which has questioned the nature of his relationship with the controversial coach Jama Aden and then reported on the leak of his athlete’s biological passport by the Russian hackers Fancy Bears, had an agenda against him.
“There’s nothing else to be said,” he said. “Sometimes I find it bizarre how certain people write certain things to suit how they want to sell the story. You guys get to me – you never write the facts. The fact is, over the years, I have achieved a lot through hard work and pain.”
“So many times, you guys have been unfair to me,” he added. “I know that. But say it how it is. I want you to write the truth about what’s out there and educate people out there. But be honest with them. If you say Mo Farah has done something wrong‚ prove it.”
Farah refused to say whether he would be coached by Salazar next year when he tackles the formidable challenge of the marathon. But he admitted he was sad to leave the track after so many glittering successes.
“It has definitely hit me,” he said. “I got emotional on Saturday night. All good things in life must come to an end at some point. What goes up must come back down. I wanted to end on a high. But it happens. The better man won on the day. That’s part of athletics. Fair credit to the other guys to be able to go. They had three guys in the team – they said ‘one of you won’t get a medal’. To beat Mo, it’s taken them six years to do it but you’ve got to give it to them.”
He also conceded that stepping up to 26.2 miles would not be easy. “No one is going to give it to me. The roads are a whole new game. I’ve got to learn it and understand my weakness. It’s going to take a while to understand the marathon.” Farah also insisted that he was open to the idea of helping the next generation of British distance runners. “It’s important that we get into the sport and help others,” he said. “Christine Ohuruogu has been helping out with the relay and will continue to leave a legacy behind.
“It’s about not thinking selfishly, not thinking financially. If we love the sport, you try to help others and I believe the knowledge and what I’ve learned over the years, I can contribute towards the younger kids and make a difference.
“You see Kyle Langford, Laura Muir, the relay boys – there are a lot of youngsters coming through,” he added. “I think we can make a difference.”