Farah silences critics

Mo Farah punching out in delight after he finishes ahead of Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia in the 5,000m at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Lausanne. The British runner has been in the spotlight after his American coach Alberto Salazar had to fend off ac
Mo Farah punching out in delight after he finishes ahead of Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia in the 5,000m at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Lausanne. The British runner has been in the spotlight after his American coach Alberto Salazar had to fend off accusations of drug abuse.PHOTO: REUTERS

He beats top-quality field in wake of drug talk but spat with Vernon resurfaces

LAUSANNE • Reigning Olympic and double world champion Mo Farah dominated the 5,000m at the Lausanne Diamond League on Thursday in his first outing since doping allegations against his coach Alberto Salazar.

Farah kicked back on the final lap from 80 metres out to beat a high-quality field featuring five of the top six in the world rankings this year, and said afterwards that the victory was a good response to his and Salazar's critics.

The 32-year-old Farah, who is also the reigning Olympic and world 10,000m champion, clocked a meet-record 13min 11.77sec, with Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha in second (13:12.59).

Upon winning the race, he waved exultantly at the crowd in what was an emotional finish, before doing his trademark "Mobot".

"This is what I work for, the crowd were great," beamed Farah after his first race in six weeks after he pulled out of the Birmingham Diamond League meet earlier this month to return to his United States training base to confront Salazar over doping allegations.

"This victory is a way to answer some of the critics regarding my coach. I had a great finish; overall, I am happy with the way the race went. It was my first time in Lausanne and I really enjoyed starting my season here."

Claims made by BBC Panorama and US investigative website ProPublica alleged that Salazar violated several anti-doping rules, which the American distance running coach has thoroughly refuted.

Farah, who was not implicated for any wrongdoing, insists he is "100 per cent clean" and has welcomed subsequent probes by both the British and US anti-doping agencies to help clear his name.

Yet, he later ran into more controversy by reigniting his feud with his British team-mate Andy Vernon after his race.

The latter said that he approached the double Olympic champion to congratulate him and was told to "f*** off".

The pair became engaged in a public row this year when Vernon accused Farah, on Twitter, of running against "joke" fields in Britain. The Somalia-born Farah retaliated by accusing Vernon of questioning his nationality when the pair won 10,000m gold and silver at last year's European Championships.

"I wanted to bury the hatchet," said Vernon who finished 15th.

"It's in the past, I don't know why we can't just forget about it.

"He's done to me a lot worse than I've done to him, and to not even be a sportsman there and shake my hand is pretty disgraceful.

"Whether we're friends or not, I can appreciate a good performance so I'd like to congratulate him but I get that reaction."

Both parties had earlier said they wanted to draw a line under the embarrassing row in February.

Last month, the 29-year-old Vernon said he was "not surprised" that Farah had chosen to stick with Salazar but added that if the athlete could deal with any backlash, then "good luck to him".

Asked whether there was an incident with Vernon after the race, Farah merely said: "I don't know, not that I saw."

The Briton is due to run in the 1,500m in Monaco on July 17 and the 3,000m in the Anniversary Games at London's Olympic Stadium the following week, before he bids to defend his world 5,000m and 10,000m titles in Beijing next month.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2015, with the headline 'FARAH SILENCES CRITICS'. Print Edition | Subscribe