LONDON (THE GUARDIAN) – Mo Farah is facing fresh questions over his relationship with banned coach Alberto Salazar after it emerged that he repeatedly denied to US anti-doping investigators that he was given injections of a controversial supplement – only to change his account.
The BBC's Panorama says that he was injected four times with L-carnitine two days before before the 2014 London Marathon by UK Athletics chief medical officer at the time, Dr Rob Chakraverty – with UKA head of distance running Barry Fudge, former UKA performance director Neil Black and Salazar also present.
However, the programme claims that when Farah was drug tested six days after the injections, on April 17, he did not record L-carnitine on his doping control form as he was required to do.
A year later when he was questioned by Usada officials in London for nearly five hours, he also initially denied receiving the supplement.
While L-carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid, there are strict rules governing its use under World Anti-Doping Agency rules – with infusions or injections only permitted provided the volume is below 50ml every six hours.
Salazar was found guilty of two violations of these in respect of other people when he received a four-year ban in October. In 2017, a parliamentary select committee heard that Farah had been given in total 13.5ml of L-carnitine – well under the permitted dose – but that Chakraverty had been heavily criticised in his appraisal for not recorded it in any official records.
According to transcripts obtained by the BBC, during his interview with Usada investigators, Farah was asked: "If someone said that you were taking L-carnitine injections, are they not telling the truth?" Farah replied: "Definitely not telling the truth, 100 per cent. I've never taken L-carnitine injections at all." He was then asked: "Are you sure that Alberto Salazar hasn't recommended that you take L-carnitine injections?" Farah responded: "No, I've never taken L-carnitine injections."
He was asked again: "You're absolutely sure that you didn't have a doctor put a butterfly needle – into your arm – and inject L-carnitine a few days before the London Marathon?" Farah replied: "No. No chance."
According to Panorama, minutes after leaving that interview, Farah then met Fudge, who had been interviewed by Usada the day before, and then returned to the interview room as the investigators were packing up and gave a different account.
The transcript shows Farah telling Usada: "So I just wanted to come clear, sorry guys, and I did take it at the time and I thought I didn't."