Farah backs banning of Russian athletes from Games

Shukriya Pakistan

LONDRES: British distance running great Mo Farah followed on Friday fellow Olympic gold medalists Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis-Hill in supporting the banning of Russian track and field athletes from next month’s Olympic Games.

The 33-year-old Somalia-born dual Olympic champion — who was speaking on the eve of his returning to compete at the stadium where he won 5000 and 10000m Olympic golds in London in 2012 — added he felt some sympathy towards those athletes who will miss out despite being clean.

“We (in Great Britain) have very tight rules and I just wished other countries applied them,” Farah said at a press conference.

“Usain and myself and the rest of us, we work so hard and then something happens and it takes away our limelight. Nobody wants to see it, but we have to do what is right.

“All I want to be able to do is run against clean athletes fairly.

“There’s no point having one rule for one country and another for another country.”

However, Farah, who has also done the double in the last two world championships, said he felt sympathy for the Kenyans, who were recently accused by the ARD German TV channel and the Sunday Times for taking doping products at their training camp.

He said he felt for them and any Russian athletes who had not cheated — relating their experiences to the one he had last year when his coach Alberto Salazar was accused in a BBC documentary of supplying drugs to his athletes.

Salazar denied any wrongdoing and despite not being directly accused Farah suffered for it and pulled out of the Birmingham Diamond League meeting because of the impact the allegations against Salazar had had on him.

“I do feel bad for the athletes who haven’t done anything or who haven’t crossed the line,” he said.

“It is not a nice thing. Last year you put me through hell and I hadn’t done anything.”

In terms of his form so far this season as he bids to retain both his titles in Rio, Farah — who runs in the 5000m on Saturday — is less than content.

“I haven’t been satisfied,” he said.

“Birmingham was okay (he broke David Moorcroft’s 34-year-old British record in the 3000m), the rest have been average. I know I can do better. I just have to get it right in Rio.

“Hopefully I should do.”