Salazar ban only hurts ath­let­ics’ cred­i­bil­ity again

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football -

Ag­gres­sive de­nial stopped work­ing for Al­berto Salazar. The whole spiky, in­dig­nant pose to­wards any­one who ques­tioned the work of Mo Farah’s for­mer coach at the Nike Ore­gon Project was fi­nally bro­ken when he was banned for four years for dop­ing vi­o­la­tions.

What an abysmal week for track and field. A pretty-much empty sta­dium in Doha for the World Cham­pi­onships, the 100 me­tres ti­tle won by a sprinter (Chris­tian Cole­man) who claims his rep­u­ta­tion has been tar­nished by a dope-test vi­o­la­tion charge (sub­se­quently dropped) – and now the lid blown off Salazar’s rule-break­ing, thanks to whistle­blow­ers and in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism, chiefly Panorama’s Mark Daly. Faith can only erode fur­ther when you are re­minded that UK Ath­let­ics looked at the ev­i­dence, con­cluded there was “no rea­son to be con­cerned” and raised no ob­jec­tion to Farah car­ry­ing on with Salazar.

By a per­verse twist, it was the hack from Rus­sia by “Fancy Bears” that upped the ante with a se­ries of leaks about Western ath­letes. The pat­tern is now clearly es­tab­lished of gov­ern­ing bod­ies mov­ing slug­gishly or re­luc­tantly un­til forced by ex­ter­nal pres­sure. You can bet your house, mean­while, that Rus­sia, who are at risk again of be­ing ex­pelled from in­ter­na­tional sport for al­leged data-dele­tions, are craft­ing a speech about Western dou­ble stan­dards.

Salazar and Dr Jef­frey Brown, an en­docri­nol­o­gist, were found to have “traf­ficked testos­terone, used banned in­fu­sion meth­ods and tam­pered with ath­letes’ records”. The ath­letes take the high­est-pro­file hits, but there are peo­ple in po­si­tions of power who are killing track and field stone dead.

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