US athletics coach Alberto Salazar banned for four years for doping violations | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 01.10.2019
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US athletics coach Alberto Salazar banned for four years for doping violations

The head coach of Nike's Oregan Project and former trainer of Olympic champion runner Mo Farah was found to have breached anti-doping regulations. Salazar has been barred from the ongoing World Athletics Championships.

A statement by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), released on Monday, said that two independent panels of the American Arbitration Association found that Alberto Salazar, alongside endocrinologist Jeffrey Brown, trafficked testosterone, administered a prohibited infusion, and engaged in tampering to attempt to prevent USADA learning of information about their conduct. Brown has also recieved a four year suspension.

Salazar has been barred from the World Athletics Championships, currently being held in Doha, Qatar, after the US Track and Field federation (USATF) confirmed it had removed his accreditation with immediate effect.

"USATF has taken the steps necessary to have Mr. Salazar's IAAF World Championships accreditation deactivated," the USATF said in a statement. "Our commitment to clean sport and a level playing field for all athletes cannot be overstated," the organisation added later. Salazar was not a part of the US track and field team competing in Doha, but several athletes from his Nike Oregon Project team are competing. 

A USADA investigation into Salazar and Brown became public in 2015 after a report by the BBC and ProPublica detailed some of the 61 year old coach's practices, which included administering testosterone gel and performance enhacing drugs to his athletes.

"While acting in connection with the Nike Oregon Project, Mr. Salazar and Dr. Brown demonstrated that winning was more important than the health and wellbeing of the athletes they were sworn to protect," said USADA chief executive Travis Tygart, following the announcement. 

Mo Farah und Alberto Salazar (picture-alliance/empics/M. Rickett)

Alberto Salazer (centre) celebrates with his gold and silver medal-winning runners Galen Rupp (left) and Mo farah (right) at the London 2012 Olympics.

Salazar is best known as the long-time coach of Mo Farah, the British four-time Olympic champion long-distance runner. The pair parted ways in 2017. He is also the coach of the Ethiopia-born Dutch runner Sifan Hassan, who took gold in the women's 10,000 metres on Saturday at the World Championships. She is also set to take part in either the 1,500m or the 5,000m later this week. 

Salazer denies any wrongdoing and is expected to appeal the decision. In a statement on the Nike Oregon Project website, he said he was shocked by the ruling and would take action. "I have always ensured the WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] code is strictly followed. The Oregon Project has never and will never permit doping," he said.

em/mf (AFP/DPA)