Athletics Athletics

Farah faces fresh scrutiny over doping rules

Britain’s Mo Farah celebrates after winning the 5000m final during an indoor event in Birmingham, on February 18, 2017

LONDON, United Kingdom, March 9 – Sir Mo Farah is under fresh scrutiny after it emerged that UK Athletics medical staff did not properly record an infusion he received for a controversial supplement before the 2014 London Marathon.

In what seems to be an alarming echo of the Team Sky ‘Jiffy bag’ storm, senior sources have confirmed to Sportsmail that medical staff did not follow protocols by ‘centrally logging’ the infusion for L-carnitine given to Farah on the UKA system.

While UKA have insisted a ‘comprehensive record’ of the infusion, including details of the amount, has been passed to anti-doping authorities, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) have been unable to establish how much was taken because of the way it was recorded.

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As a leaked report from US anti-doping chiefs has already revealed, Farah’s American coach, Alberto Salazar, has ‘almost certainly’ broken anti-doping regulations by giving infusions in excess of the permitted limit to six of his athletes at the Nike Oregon Project.

The rules state that infusions of more than 50ml in the space of six hours are prohibited. L-carnitine is a legal supplement, but in the same leaked USADA documents Salazar tells his friend, disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, of its ‘incredible’ performing-enhancing qualities. ‘It’s amazing,’ declares Salazar.

According to the USADA report, Farah was given the infusion before his marathon debut in London in April 2014 by Dr Robin Chakraverty, who still works with UK Athletics one day a week, but also serves as the senior England football team doctor.

It is believed there are a series of emails, but failure to follow the precise medical protocols is understood to be a source of concern at both USADA and UK Anti-Doping. Only on Tuesday UK Anti-Doping chief Nicole Sapstead told a conference it was ‘vitally important’ that ‘all sports governing bodies keep their medical records up to date for their athletes’.

She added: ‘It protects your organisation and your athletes. The reputation of sport is at stake. The trust of the person thinking about buying a ticket is at stake. We are all familiar with the analogies of how long it takes to build up a reputation and how quickly that can be destroyed.’

On Wednesday night UK Athletics would only reiterate their position that they ‘remain at all times available to co-operate with the anti-doping authorities on this’.

A spokesperson said: ‘Information relating to this (including the specific measurement) was provided with a lot of information willingly as part of our co-operating with the investigations. It is important to note that since then, and the publication of our own review, we have not been asked to provide any further clarifications or detail. We will not make further comments until USADA have completed their investigation.’

The UKA review into Salazar was sparked by allegations made by BBC Panorama in 2015, with a Performance Oversight Committee set up to look at Farah’s training regime under Salazar and the governing body’s relationship with the Nike Oregon Project.

The committee made certain recommendations, among them ‘to ensure there are full and proper recording of all medical, legal and ethical considerations given prior to the implementation of all athlete performance programmes’.

And it recommended a ‘continuing audit of the organisation’s medical record-keeping is maintained including exploration of the legal and ethical challenges of storing performance and medical data while enabling expert analysis when required’.

The USADA documents that were leaked by the Russian Fancy Bears computer hackers reveal Salazar gave instructions to senior UKA official Barry Fudge about the infusion for Farah.

The USADA report states: ‘On March 24, 2014, Alberto Salazar sent an email to Barry Fudge, a physiologist with UK Athletics with whom Salazar regularly worked in developing the training plan for British Oregon Project athlete Mo Farah.

‘Salazar’s email was sent in order to assist Fudge with preparing an L-carnitine infusion for Mo Farah to use prior to Farah’s marathon debut, set to occur in the London Marathon on April 11, 2014.

‘Salazar provided what he referred to in his email as ‘the protocol that was used on one of our runners’. Salazar, however, did not identify this ‘Mystery Athlete’ in his email to Fudge.’

The documents then go on to explain how Salazar appeared to withhold information from Fudge with regard to the amounts given to other Oregon Project athletes.

The USADA report concludes: ‘A possible reason for not wanting to share the amount of L-carnitine used would be Salazar’s knowledge that the infusion exceeded the WADA 50ml threshold.’

In a previous statement UK Athletics have said: ‘To our knowledge all doses administered and methods of administration have been fully in accordance with WADA-approved protocol and guidelines.’

Both Farah and Salazar deny any wrongdoing, with Farah insisting last week he would be happy for his samples to be re-tested after USADA had requested to UKAD that they be able to reanalyse Farah’s samples. UKAD declined the request.

On Wednesday night a spokesperson for Farah said: ‘As a professional, Mo is subject to extensive anti-doping testing at all times by a wide number of organisations.

‘Mo is obviously not responsible or involved in the official record keeping of these results, but we can categorically state that he has only had one infusion of L-carnitine during his career, which was back in 2014, was fully administered and overseen by the team at UK Athletics, and was well below the 50ml limit permitted under the WADA code.

‘We understand that there are UK Athletics documents which verify this, and that these have been seen by USADA and UKAD.’

-By Daily Mail-