Mo Farah and distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie have become embroiled in a bizarre and heated row after the Briton revealed he had been burgled at the Ethiopian’s hotel just outside Addis Ababa.
Farah revealed during a promotional press conference for the London Marathon that he’d had money, two phones and a watch given to him by his wife stolen from his room in a hotel, Yaya Village, owned by Gebrselassie. He said: “I am disappointed with Haile. Someone in reception had given my key to someone and someone has gone in and opened my room and opened my suitcase.
“The hotel never took responsibility or did anything to get my stuff back. I asked them, they got the police involved. They said they arrested five guys, they were released.”
The burglary allegedly took place on 23 March, Farah’s 36th birthday. Gebreselassie responded with a lengthy and strongly-worded statement expressing the former 10,000m and marathon world record holder’s “deep sorrow to learn that Mo Farah dispatched a deceit information against me... regarding his unproven claim of robbery” – and accusing the four-time Olympic champion of attacking another athlete in the hotel gym, which necessitated police intervention. “Due to my meditation role, the charges were dropped,” the statement from Gebrselassie read.
The statement added that his hotel had reported Farah’s complaint of robbery immediately to police and that five staff members were taken into custody then released. Farah had also refused a special deposit box for valuables, Gebrselassie claimed. The hotel had, according to Gebrselassie’s statement, offered a 50-per-cent discount, but Farah had also left without paying a service bill of $3,000 (£2,323).
“There were multiple reports from hotel staff of disgraceful conduct, which was not expected from a person of his calibre and his entourage during his stay,” the statement said.