Athletics

Salazar lodges ban appeal with top sports court

...denies abuse, admits 'callous' language

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AFP) — Disgraced running Coach Alberto Salazar has lodged an appeal against a four-year ban for doping offences, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced earlier this week.

Jeffrey Brown, a Texas endocrinologist who treated many of Salazar's athletes at Nike's Oregon Project training hub in Portland, has also appealed against his suspension.

CAS said on Monday it has “registered the appeals” against decisions rendered by the American Arbitration Association, North American Court of Arbitration for Sport Panel “in which they were found to have committed anti-doping rule violations and sanctioned with a four-year period of ineligibility”.

CAS said two arbitration procedures had been opened and both men had requested more time to prepare their case.

“At this stage, it appears that the hearings in these two matters are unlikely to take place before March 2020,” said CAS.

Salazar's doping offences include trafficking testosterone, tampering with the doping control process, and administering illicit infusions of the fat-burning substance, L-carnitine.

He denies any wrongdoing.

Last month Nike, which backed Salazar after his suspension by the US Anti-Doping Agency, announced it was shutting down the Oregon Project.

Mark Parker, who at the time was Nike's chief executive but has since stepped aside, said — when Salazar's ban was announced - that the company would still support the coach - best known for coaching Britain's four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah - in his appeal.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Salazar denied subjecting former members of his Nike Oregon Project to abuse or gender discrimination, but admitted using “callous” language against athletes in the training group.

Salazar has faced stinging criticism from several former runners over methods used in his controversial Oregon Project.

Last week, former US runner Mary Cain said she had suffered physical and mental abuse at the training camp as a result of Salazar's demanding regime.

Cain, a former high school prodigy who was tipped for middle-distance greatness, said she had suffered suicidal thoughts and started cutting herself as life in the training group took its toll.

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Cain detailed how she had faced pressure to become “thinner and thinner and thinner,” eventually causing her to stop menstruating for three years.

Another former runner, Olympian Amy Begley, said Salazar barred her from the training group in 2011, complaining she was “too fat” and “had the biggest butt on the starting line”.

In a statement to The Oregonian newspaper, Salazar acknowledged using insensitive language but insisted it was part and parcel of life as an elite athlete.

“On occasion, I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive over the course of years of helping my athletes through hard training,” Salazar said.

“If any athlete was hurt by any comments that I have made, such an effect was entirely unintended, and I am sorry.

“I do dispute, however, the notion that any athlete suffered any abuse or gender discrimination while running for the Oregon Project.”

Salazar said his emphasis on weight was related to “what (an athlete's) target training weight and performance weight should be to attain peak performance while maintaining an overall good well-being.”


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