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USADA investigating UK Olympic champion Mo Farah & other runners’ alleged drug abuse – report

A leaked report by the US anti-doping agency, USADA, has revealed that coach Alberto Salazar "almost certainly" broke anti-doping rules by allegedly giving infusions to his athletes, including four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, the Sunday Times reported.

According to the report published by the British media on Sunday, the coach, who has been previously involved in a doping scandal, has "abused prescription medicines and used prohibited drug infusions to boost testosterone levels and the performance of his runners."

The report said several athletes, including Farah and "six top American runners training with Salazar" had received intravenous infusions of a substance known as L-carnitine during a major training project in the US.

Written in March 2016, the anti-doping agency official report stated that "substantial and compelling evidence" had been found that the coach and a doctor from his team "conspired" to use some medical substances in "sometimes potentially unlawful" ways, according to the Sunday Times. Farah was among those allegedly given drugs to run faster, it added.

The USADA confirmed it had prepared a report in relation to the alleged doping abuse by Salazar's athletes, AFP reported. "It appears that a draft of this report was leaked" to the British media, the agency said, citing a USADA statement. USADA added that its dossier had been leaked by hacker group Fancy Bears, allegedly "affiliated" with Moscow.

"As we continue to investigate whether anti-doping rules were broken, no further comment will be made at this time," the statement said, as quoted by AFP.

While the L-carnitine chemical prescribed as a supplement to treat some muscle and heart disorders is not a banned substance in sports, infusions of more than 50ml in the space of six hours are prohibited.

The Times report suggested that "one athlete who was given a high dosage concluded that it was as effective as illegal blood doping."

It also said that the British champion, Mo Farah "was given an infusion of L-carnitine shortly before his London marathon debut in 2014," as advised by Salazar and "his staff."

In a statement Sunday, the Olympic champion denied the allegations. "I am a clean athlete who has never broken the rules in regards to substances, methods or dosages," AFP cited Farah as saying. The runner added he found such media reports "upsetting."

Salazar has also contested the allegations, saying that his athletes “were administered with L-carnitine in 'exactly the way USADA directed,’” the Times reported.

In its report, the British media also alleged that the coach had excitingly shared the "incredible" effects of the substance with the seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, who himself has been accused of drugs abuse.

"We have tested it and it's amazing," Salazar reportedly emailed to Armstrong.

"I imagine that all coaches will be looking at ways of optimizing performance whether it's through diet, supplement use, oxygen tanks or training methods – it's win at all costs," author and editor of the Sports Integrity initiative, Andy Brown, told RT, adding, "It will be interesting to see what comes out of this."

"What remains the main problem is the credibility of athletics in general, which I think is the main sport concerned, and its [credibility] remained extremely fragile because of the authorities' inability for whatever reasons to come to grips with the doping issue," author and sports commentator Keir Radnedge told RT.