USADA report stirs up controversy over athletics coach’s practice

Photo: Richard Phipps/Flickr


By Mads A. Wickstrøm
A report by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) questions Athletics coach, Alberto Salazar’s use of prohibited drug substances on US athletes at the Nike Oregon Project.

Athletics coach, Alberto Salazar broke anti-doping rules by giving his athletes infusions of prohibited drug substances, a USADA report obtained by British Newspaper The Sunday Times, reveals. Documents from the report shows that the substance L-carnitine were given to American runners training with Alberto Salazar, according to a Sunday Times article. L-carnitine does not appear on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) prohibited list, however, the volume of L-carnitine given to the athletes may have exceeded the amount warranted under WADA rules.

Olympic 5.000m and 10.000m gold medallist Mo Farah, was among the athletes who trained under Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project. To increase performance, Farah and other athletes were given prescription drugs by Salazar because he believed the medication would lead them to run faster at events, the USADA report writes, according to the Sunday Times. In a statement on his Facebook page, Farah denies any misuse of prohibited substances.

“I am a clean athlete who has never broken the rules in regards to substances, methods or dosages and it is upsetting that some parts of the media, despite the clear facts, continue to try to associate me with allegations of drug misuse.”

“As I've said many times before, we all should do everything we can to have a clean sport and it is entirely right that anyone who breaks the rules should be punished,” Farah writes.

According to Sean Ingle of The Guarding, Alberto Salazar responded to the article brought by the Sunday Times saying that:

“The Times has simply recycled old allegations that have been refuted almost two years ago. I have clearly and repeatedly refuted allegations directly against me and the Oregon Project. I believe in a clean sport and a methodical, dedicated approach to training. The Oregon Project will never permit doping and all Oregon Project athletes are required to comply with the WADA Code and IAAF Rules. I do not use supplements that are banned.”

Fancy Bears strikes again

On February 25, USADA confirmed that the documents cited and referred to by the Sunday Times had been leaked by the ‘Fancy Bears’, a Russian cyber-espionage group. Fancy Bears has been known to publish sensitive documents on issues of Anti-Doping. Ryan Madden, USADA Communications Manager, said to Reuters that:

“USADA can confirm that it has prepared a report in response to a subpoena from a state medical licensing body regarding care given by a physician to athletes associated with the Nike Oregon Project.”

“It appears that a draft of this report was leaked to the Sunday Times by the Russian state-affiliated hacker group known as Fancy Bears.”

“We understand that the licensing body is still deciding its case and as we continue to investigate whether anti-doping rules were broken, no further comment will be made at this time.”


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