Mo Farah’s medical data to be investigated by UK Athletics

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Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah will be investigated by British Athletics in an independent review into “blood data, supplements data, everything surrounding his medical treatment,” UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner said on BBC Radio on Monday.

“We need to make sure there’s nothing else there that we haven’t seen, we’re not aware of, hasn’t been analyzed,” Warner said. “It may well be that the outcome of our own investigation says there’s nothing untoward been going on as far as we can uncover in any way, shape or form around British athletics and a British athlete.”

Farah’s coach, American Alberto Salazar, was accused of cheating by former members of their Nike Oregon Project training group in a BBC and ProPublica report last week.

Farah was not implicated in “inappropriate drug use” by any of the former Nike Oregon Project team members interviewed, according to ProPublica. He has never failed a drug test.

Warner said he thought the UK Athletics investigation would take weeks, not months.

“One of the possible outcomes of all of this is, even though — and I’m sure that’s probably going to be the case — there’s nothing untoward being proven around Mo Farah and British Athletics, we might still recommend to Mo and might still decide ourselves to suspend our relationship [with Salazar] because of the reputational damage that could be caused,” Warner said.

Warner also said a formal process will review “every aspect of our relationship” with Salazar. The chairman called the BBC and ProPublica report a “seismic shock to the sport.”

“If I was a close mate of Mo’s, and he was asking me personally — not as the chairman of British Athletics — ‘What do you think I should do?’ I might have been inclined to say, ‘Do you know what? The easiest thing for you to do right now is to suspend that relationship [with Salazar], take a breather, see how it all plays out, run the circuit in the summer in Europe, on to the World Championships in Beijing, and see what transpires,'” Warner said. “It’s a very fine decision. There’s loyalty issues. Nothing has been proven against Alberto Salazar.”

Farah made his first public comments since last week’s report in a press conference Saturday ahead of a scheduled race in Birmingham, Great Britain, on Sunday. Farah later pulled out of the race.

“This week has been very stressful and taken a lot out of me,” Farah said in a statement announcing he would withdraw. “I have not been able to focus properly on [Sunday’s] race and after the events of the last few days feel emotionally and physically drained.  I want to run well in the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing and have decided it is better for me to go back to the U.S., seek answers to my questions and get back into training.”

On Saturday, Farah said he wouldn’t leave Salazar because he hasn’t seen “clear evidence” against the coach but said he would leave if the allegations were proven true.

“I need some answers,” Farah said he told Salazar. “He goes, ‘Mo, I can prove this to you. These are just allegations. I’ll show you some evidence.'”

Farah said it’s not fair that his name “is getting dragged through the mud” despite not being accused of wrongdoing.

“If Alberto has crossed the line, I’m the first person to leave him,” Farah said.

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Emily Sweeney posts fastest time in qualifier for luge World Cup opener

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World championship bronze medalist Emily Sweeney placed first in the Nations Cup luge race Friday in Innsbruck, Austria, qualifying with ease for the first World Cup event of the season.

Twelve women, including fellow American Summer Britcher, were seeded directly into the World Cup race. Sweeney, Brittney Arndt and Ashley Farquharson all qualified from the Nations Cup race. Britcher has finished third in the overall World Cup standings for two straight years and is a contender in a wide-open year with seven-time defending champion Natalie Geisenberger taking a year off while pregnant.

MORE: Geisenberg will not race in 2019-20

In the men’s competition, Jonny Gustafson and Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer finished third and fifth in the Nations Cup race to advance. Tucker West claimed the second-to-last qualifying spot to get all three U.S. sliders in Sunday’s World Cup race.

Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman qualified for the doubles competition, ensuring all eight U.S. sliders will see the weekend races.

OlympicChannel.com will have live streaming this weekend (all times ET):

  • Women: Saturday, 4:15 a.m. and 5:40 a.m.
  • Doubles: Saturday, 7:05 a.m. and 8:25 a.m.
  • Men: Sunday, 4 a.m. and 5:35 a.m.
  • Team relay: Sunday, 7:40 a.m.

Highlights will be on television at the following times:

  • Saturday: Olympic Channel, 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Olympic Channel, 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: NBCSN, 4:30 p.m.

Next weekend, the World Cup series heads to Lake Placid, N.Y.

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Russian track and field federation faces expulsion threat over new doping allegations

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MOSCOW (AP) — The governing body for track and field will consider expelling Russia from membership following new charges that senior officials faked medical records.

Russia has been suspended by World Athletics, formerly known as the IAAF, over widespread doping since 2015. There will be a review of whether vetted Russians should still be allowed to compete in international events as neutrals.

“We need to deal with renegade factions like this,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said Friday in Monaco.

World Athletics has frozen talks about lifting the long-running suspension and asked its Russia task force for recommendations on expelling the country’s track federation.

“It’s not symbolic,” said Coe, who said the charges and suspensions against Russian officials were so wide-ranging that they left the task force with almost no one left to talk to.

One route could be to close the Russian track federation and set up a new national governing body. Russia’s sports minister said he had referred the federation to a commission which oversees such matters.

Federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin and four other senior officials are accused of obstructing the investigation into 2017 world championship silver medalist Danil Lysenko, who was accused last year of failing to make himself available for drug testing.

Lysenko allegedly provided fake medical documents as an alibi with help from the officials. He and his coach have also been suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit pending full disciplinary hearings.

Also Friday, the three-time world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene assailed Russian track leaders after they were charged Thursday, saying they have made a “doping nightmare” even worse.

Lasitskene called for swift and radical reforms, and the removal of officials appointed by Shlyakhtin.

Shlyakhtin took office shortly after the federation was suspended from international competition for widespread doping. The suspension remains in place four years later.

“The new team, whose task was to take us out of this doping nightmare, has turned out no better than the old one. And in some ways worse,” Lasitskene wrote on Instagram. “Shlyakhtin and his team must quit their posts immediately and never come back. And I will make sure this happens.”

Lasitskene has won two of her three world titles as a neutral athlete as a result of Russia’s suspension, which also caused her to miss the 2016 Olympics.

“Our track and field is in its death throes and we can’t procrastinate anymore,” she wrote. “We’ve lost four years already. Clean athletes are still defenseless and not sure they’ll be able to compete tomorrow.”

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov expressed concern about the “emergency situation” and referred the federation to a ministry commission which could officially withdraw its government recognition.

“The future fate of the track and field federation will be examined,” Kolobkov said Friday in a video statement. “For us now, the main thing is that the training process isn’t interrupted. That means all of the athletes will get the help they need to continue the training and competition process.”

Earlier, the Kremlin said the charges against Shlyakhtin and others won’t derail the country’s preparations to compete in next year’s Olympics.

“Undoubtedly, this (situation) requires attention from the sports authorities, and I’m sure they’re dealing with it,” said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin. “But I don’t see a direct connection with Russia’s participation in the Olympics here.”

With Shlyakhtin suspended, the federation is set to select an interim president at a board meeting on Saturday.

Russia is also facing a World Anti-Doping Agency ruling next month on whether it manipulated data from a lab in Moscow.

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