Hacking shows Mo Farah flagged for suspicious blood data
MOSCOW: Data posted by Russian-linked hackers show four-time Olympic gold medalist runner Mo Farah’s blood readings were once flagged by track’s governing body.
The findings were part of his biological passport. Such passports, unlike traditional drug tests, track athletes’ blood data for signs of doping over a long period. A single suspicious passport sample on its own isn’t considered grounds for a ban and doesn’t mean any trace of a banned substance was found.
The data posted by the Fancy Bears group include alleged IAAF correspondence from April 2016 that lists Farah among athletes whose blood data was considered suspicious.
Farah’s profile is flagged as “likely doping” in one document attached to the April 2016 email, allegedly following analysis by an unidentified expert. Another file attached to the same email says the British runner’s profile is “now flagged as ‘normal’ with the last sample.” It isn’t clear exactly why there was any change or exactly what evidence may have been behind any suspicion.
“Any suggestion of misconduct is entirely false and seriously misleading. Mo Farah has been subject to many blood tests during his career and has never failed a single one,” according to an email from a public relations firm representing Farah.
“We have never been informed of any of Mo’s test results being outside of the legal parameters set by the relevant authorities, nor has Mo ever been contacted by the IAAF about any individual result. It is totally incorrect and defamatory to suggest otherwise.”
The data appeared to be genuine and hacked from the IAAF in April, according to the track body, which apologized later Thursday to athletes whose confidentiality had been breached.
“The IAAF offers its sincerest apologies to the athletes who believed their personal and medical information was secure with us,” the Monaco-based body said.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe acknowledged that security needed to be reviewed, though urged against casting suspicion on athletes named in the hack.
“It would be wrong to make assumptions based upon leaked documents without the full evidence and that evidence being put in context,” Coe said.
The US Anti-Doping Agency is investigating Farah’s coach, Alberto Salazar. He has been accused of skirting anti-doping rules while training some of his athletes at the Nike Oregon Project, a high-profile group that promotes distance running.