Sir Mohamed Farah is ziedend.quote:Mo Farah launches astonishing attack on media - 'You're trying to destroy everything I have achieved'
In an attack as astonishing as any of his last-lap sprints for gold, Sir Mo Farah has accused the media of trying to “destroy” his reputation by misreporting the controversies to have engulfed him.
The morning after ending his major championship career on the track with a shock defeat in the 5,000 metres at the World Championships, Farah staged a press conference at which his legacy was inevitably the major topic of discussion.
As was right and proper, he was first asked to reflect upon his unprecedented achievements - 10 successive global titles, including four 5,000m and 10,000m doubles - following his amazing transformation from an also-ran into Britain’s most successful track-and-field athlete and an all-time great of distance running.
What followed were questions about matters infinitely more in the public interest, and the consequences of them for his legacy, including his ongoing relationship with Alberto Salazar - still under investigation for alleged drugs offences - his links with Jama Aden - arrested last year in connection with a doping inquiry - and evidence he had been given medication that endangered his health.
Not mentioned were his two missed drugs tests before the 2012 Olympics, the failure of a British Athletics doctor to properly record his use of a restricted substance before the 2014 London Marathon, and documents leaked just last month in which he was named as “likely doping” before being cleared.
The 34-year-old, who the media have never accused of cheating, all but branded reports of these facts as fake news, saying: “It’s like a broken record, repeating myself. Why bring it up year after year, making it into headlines? I’ve achieved what I have achieved – you’re trying to destroy it.”
He added: “You can write what you like. The fact is I’ve achieved what I have from hard work, putting my balls on the line, year after year and delivering for my country.
“There’s nothing else to be said. History doesn’t lie. I find it bizarre how certain people write certain things to suit how they want to sell the story.
“Sometimes, you guys get to me – you never write the facts. The fact is, over the years, I have achieved a lot through hard work and pain. If I have crossed the line - ‘Mo Farah has done something wrong’ - then prove it.”
Farah was in no doubt how he saw his legacy, one of a Somalian refugee who repaid his adopted homeland with some of the greatest sporting feats in its history.
“I’ve done my country and many people proud,” said Farah, who began his morning by performing his iconic ‘Mobot’ while perched atop one of the capsules on the London Eye.
“It makes me proud to be British, to put British distance running on the map.
“Growing up in Teddington and seeing the Kenyans and Ethiopians winning, I never thought, ‘One day, we’ll be able to challenge them and beat them at their own game’.
“I hope I can leave that legacy behind – and get behind younger British kids and see what we can do.
“It will take 10-15 years to get the next best distance runner in terms of winning medals. But we need to start somewhere.”
After two final farewell races on the track, Farah will switch to the road in a bid to end Britain’s long wait for a male marathon champion.
“I don’t like to keep still,” he said. “I want to continue on. I like the pain and the challenges of being an athlete. I think I can do something on the road. But I think it will take a few years and few marathons to get it right.”
Revealing he wanted to be known as Mohamed rather than Mo in future, he added: “My road name is Mohamed and I just feel like Mo is done. I need to forget about what I’ve achieved and what I’ve done.”
Farah refused to be drawn on whether Salazar, who denies breaking anti-doping rules, would be part of that future, with the American conspicuous by his absence from London 2017.
“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” Farah said. “I’ve a few races left, then I’ll take a nice break and see how it goes.”
He added: “Either way, if he was here or not here, day after day, I’d still be putting my balls on the line.”
With the questions he clearly did not like out of the way, the conversation switched to Farah’s desire to pass on his experience to the next generation. But he could not resist a parting shot at those he accused of being out to get him.
“Over the years, you guys have done many things to build a person up and bring them back down,” he said.
Beating his chest, he added: “The reality is, no matter what you do, I’m going to still keep fighting, keep working, making my country proud.
“I’m proud to be British and put my GB vest on and do it for my country. You can write what you like but, at the same time, I’m a clean athlete. I sleep well at night, hugging my kids, loving my kids, and showing them what’s right. And that’s all that counts.”
Ik neem aan dat ze met gebit lopen jaquote:
Barshim, Bondarenko lijkt mequote: