LONDON – Olympic champion Mo Farah said on Thursday he would have been “the first one out” had he known that his former coach Alberto Salazar faced a ban from track and field for doping violations.
Salazar stopped coaching Farah, double Olympic champion at both 5,000 and 10,000 meters, in 2017 when the runner decided to move back to England from the United States.
The Briton had said at the time that the doping investigation was not the reason they parted ways.
“Had I had known the news, what Salazar did, it’s taken four years, had I known that sooner I would have been the first one out,” the athlete, who has never failed a drug test and not being accused of any wrongdoing, told the BBC.
“That’s the bit that’s kind of annoying, I wish I’d known quicker.”
Salazar has denied wrongdoing and has appealed against his four-year ban.
Farah announced in November that he was returning to the track to chase more gold in the 10,000 at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
The 36-year-old Somalia-born distance runner told the BBC he wished he had been aware sooner about Salazar’s illegal activity at the Nike Oregon Project.
Farah was criticized for staying on with the 61-year-old Cuban-born naturalized American until 2017, two years after a BBC documentary first aired claims about doping within the camp.
When Salazar was banned for four years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in October for doping violations, Farah was reluctant to talk about his former coach, who is now appealing the ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The World Anti-Doping Agency is to investigate athletes from the Oregon Project —which Nike closed down in October — and could retest past samples.
Farah told the Daily Telegraph he feared nothing from having his previous samples retested.
“I don’t think there has ever been a problem for me,” he said.
“I am very honest, probably one of the most tested athletes. I am happy for all my tests to be retested and to use the samples.
“That’s all you can do.”