LAUSANNE, July 10- No sooner had embattled Mo Farah scorched to an emphatic victory in his first race since being mired in doping allegations surrounding his coach than he found himself at the centre of a foul-mouthed spat.
Reigning Olympic and double world champion Farah produced a trademark kick from 80 metres to win a high-quality 5000m at the Lausanne Diamond League on Thursday in his first outing since drug claims against coach Alberto Salazar.
Farah was quick to say that his performance answered his and Salazar’s critics, with the runner not implicated in any wrongdoing and the coach refuting all allegations he administered testosterone to American distance runner Galen Rupp in 2002 when Rupp — a training partner of Farah — was only 16, and encouraged misuse of prescription drugs.
But rather than being able to completely bask in his sumptuous display, attention was turned instead to Farah’s apparent snubbing of British teammate Andy Vernon, who also ran in the 5000m.
As Farah prepared himself for an interview on the track immediately after his impressive victory, Vernon went to shake his hand in a bid to bury the hatchet after a nasty verbal spat earlier this season.
But in another public relations faux pas, Farah turned his back and, according to Vernon, told him to clear off in no uncertain terms.
“I went to shake his hand and he turned his back on me and told me to f*** off,” explained Vernon. “I wanted to bury the hatchet, I’m going up to Font-Romeu (where Farah trains in France) in a few days’ time and I just wanted to end it.
“To not even be a sportsman and shake my hand I think is pretty disgraceful, to be honest. Like in the armed forces, you salute the rank not the person sometimes.
“I wanted to congratulate the performance. Whether we’re friends or not, I can appreciate a good performance but I get that reaction.”
Farah had reacted badly to Vernon’s comment after last year’s European Championships implying that the Somali-born runner was not European, but he avoided any questions about what happened between the two on the Lausanne track, instead focusing on his performance and what it meant in a turbulent season.
“I had a great finish. Overall I am happy with the way the race went today. This victory is also a way to answer some of the critics regarding my coach that came out lately,” said 32-year-old Farah, with one eye on next month’s world championships in Beijing.
“The race had everybody in it, it wasn’t an easy race, it was like a mini-worlds. I wanted to come out here and race against the guys before the worlds, I was happy with the way I finished the race, I enjoyed it.
“As an athlete all I want to do is what I do best and that’s to run and to represent my country and to win medals, enjoy training and enjoy racing.”
Farah said he had never been in doubt when Ethiopian teenager Yomif Kejelcha bolted with 300 metres to run.
“I was confident enough, I believed in myself and training has been good,” he said, adding that his first race in six weeks after he pulled out of the Birmingham Diamond League meet in early June to return to his US training base to confront Salazar had not come quick enough.
“I was really pumped up before this race, it has been a while, I haven’t raced and I wanted to race. It’s not like it was an easy field, I wanted to come out and race everybody.
“I didn’t know it was going to have everybody in it, I thought it was going to be a normal race.”
Farah added: “As an athlete you just have to do what you best. The last couple of weeks have been hard for my family and everyone else. But what can you do? You just want to run and that’s what I did and I enjoyed it.”