Mo Farah shrugs off ‘Fancy Bears’ drugs disclosure

Mo Farah has shrugged off the leaking of his personal medical records by Russian hackers. Picture: PA.
Mo Farah has shrugged off the leaking of his personal medical records by Russian hackers. Picture: PA.
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Olympic great Mo Farah has shrugged off the leaking of his personal medical records by Russian hackers, insisting he has nothing to hide.

The information, which relates to two therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) he was granted so he could take medicine that would otherwise be banned, was stolen from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s data storage system.

A spokesman for Farah said: “Mo has got nothing to hide and doesn’t have a problem with this information being released.”

The Briton is among 66 international athletes, including Scotland’s Callum Skinner and 16 other Team GB members, who have had their TUEs published online by the so-called Fancy Bears, with 26 in yesterday’s batch.

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal and Britain’s Olympic golf champion Justin Rose were the other big names released with Farah, joining last week’s high-profile cast which included American gymnastics queen Simone Biles, Tour de France winners Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins, and tennis sisters Serena and Venus Williams.

But, just as Wiggins still faces questions over three injections of a powerful corticosteroid that he had not disclosed before, the first of Farah’s two TUEs became the immediate

focus of the most recent leak as it was for the same drug prescribed to Wiggins – triamcinolone – and it seemed Farah had previously admitted to only one TUE. That was for a saline drip and two painkillers that the 33-year-old Londoner was given after he collapsed in Park City, Utah, where he was training at altitude in 2014.

He said this was his only TUE at a press conference last June when asked about his coach Alberto Salazar, who remains under investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, but it has since emerged that he did mention the 2008 injection a few weeks later in an interview with Sky Sports News.

Responding to questions about this earlier TUE, a spokesperson for Farah, right, said: “As Mo has previously stated, he has got nothing to hide and doesn’t have a problem with this or any of his [anti-doping administration and management system] information being released – as evidenced by the fact that he voluntarily shared his blood data with the Sunday Times last year. Mo’s medical care is overseen at all times by British Athletics and over the course of his long career he has only ever had two TUEs.”

As well as Farah and Rose, six other Team GB members were in the fourth batch of hacked data released yesterday: hockey’s Alex Danson, Crista Cullen and Samantha Quek, rowers Helen Glover and Peter Reed, and track cyclist

Skinner.

Rose’s TUE is for an anti-inflammatory drug for a back injury that caused him to miss several weeks of action in May and June, while almost all the other British TUEs are for fairly routine asthma and allergy drugs.

Nadal, 30. is probably the most eye-catching name among the rest of those named by the Russian cyber terrorists on Monday, with his TUEs being for anti-inflammatory injections in September 2009 and shortly before he withdrew from London 2012 with tendinitis in his knees.

Of the 26, all but American sprinter Ariana Washington won medals in Rio, including four members of the Canadian women’s football team that earned bronze medals.

Like the British athletes, the vast majority of these TUEs are for asthma medication and many of these drugs no longer require special permission as they were reclassified by WADA in 2010.