© PAAlberto Salazar was banned from the sport over a string of doping violations earlier this month. - PA
Disgraced coach Alberto Salazar has insisted he never misled Mo Farah while guiding him to four Olympic and six world titles.
Salazar, who coached Farah for seven years at the Nike Oregon Project, was banned from the sport over a string of doping violations earlier this month. © 2018 Getty ImagesBIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: Alberto Salazar (L) watches on during the IAAF World Indoor Championships on Day Two at Arena Birmingham on March 2, 2018 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for IAAF)
In a heated press conference on Friday, a defensive Farah said he had confronted his coach in 2015, when the allegations against him first surfaced. "He assured me at the time these are just allegations, this is not true," he said. "And that hasn't been true."
Video: Doping techniques(AFP)
But the American coach hit back at Farah, telling The New York Times: "I'm sorry Mo feels that way, but I've never lied to anyone about anything related to this investigation.
"Before even Usada [the United States Anti-Doping Agency] brought this case, I made public my views regarding the allegations in this case," he added.
Salazar has said he intends to appeal against his coaching ban after being found guilty of trafficking testosterone, administering a prohibited intravenous infusion and tampering with the doping control process.
British distance runner Mo Farah attends the Elite Athlete Press Conference for the Chicago Marathon, on October 11 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Farah, who is hoping to retain his Chicago Marathon title on Sunday, insisted that he felt no pressure going into the race despite finishing only fifth in the London Marathon in April. British distance runner Mo Farah smiles during the Elite Athlete Press Conference for the Chicago Marathon, on October 11 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
"I was in great shape in London and looking to go low 2-04, but the wheels just came off with three miles to go," he said at a pre-race press conference. "But each marathon you go into is always different and last year in Chicago was the best I have felt in all my marathons."
Farah beat Galen Rupp, his former Nike Oregon Project training partner, to produce a European record in Chicago last year, a feat he hopes to better on Sunday.
Rupp was also repeatedly asked about his relationship with Salazar, who is now banned from coaching any of his Nike Oregon Project athletes. © Thomson ReutersAthletics - London 10,000 - London, Britain - May 27, 2019 Mo Farah celebrates winning the men's elite race REUTERS/Ian Walton
Under the shadow of the scandal, Nike announced this week that it had closed the elite training programme, which Salazar had stewarded since its launch in 2001.
Several of Salazar's former athletes who are competing in Sunday's marathon are now left without a coach.
© afpSeveral of Salazar's former athletes who are competing in Sunday's marathon are now left without a coach
Among them is Rupp, who declined to address the Usada findings into Salazar and defended the Nike Oregon Project, stressing that none of its athletes had ever tested positive for a banned substance.
Asked when he had last spoken to Salazar, Rupp said he had not had any "professional contact, sport-related contact" with his coach since his anti-doping violations were announced, leaving open the possibility that he has communicated with him in a personal capacity.
That has prompted questions over whether the American runner has fallen foul of International Association of Athletics Federations rules, which state that athletes risk a two-year ban for prohibited association if they remain in contact with any banned coach.
Gallery: Sports scandals: Images from biggest controversies(USA TODAY SPORTS)
Another of Salazar's star athletes, Jordan Hasay, 28, also said she remained "very, very close" with Salazar, but suggested she had not been in touch with her coach since he was banned.
Asked if she felt tainted because of her association with Salazar and the Oregon Project, the American distance runner responded: "I trust what I know and what I've seen. I've never been offered anything or seen anything.
"If that were to happen, I would have left long ago, and so that's what I stick to."
The IAAF has said that personal contact is permitted, as long as it does not stray into coaching. But sources suggested the organisation would write to Salazar's athletes warning them of the rules preventing them communicating with him in a professional or sport-related capacity. However, it remains unclear whether such a rule can be enforced.
MSN UK is committed to Empowering the Planet and taking urgent action to protect our environment. We're supporting Friends of the Earth to help solve the climate crisis, please give generously here or find out more about our campaign here.