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Mo Farah hires Northern Irish coach Lough in shake-up


By Robert Jones

Sir Mo Farah is leaving American coach Alberto Salazar and will be trained for his marathon career by Paula Radcliffe's husband, Ulsterman Gary Lough.

Farah is to relocate from Portland in the United States to London but has denied his decision has been influenced by doping allegations against Salazar.

Salazar has always strenuously denied being involved in doping, and Farah has consistently stood by him by resisting the calls to quit the coach's Nike Oregon Project.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist insists he is coming home to London because he and his family missed living in the city where his eldest daughter Rhianna was born.

The British athlete said: "I'm moving back home. London... I really miss home. I'm going to be back there. I'm very excited.

"I'll no longer be coached by Alberto Salazar, working with the Oregon Project. I want to thank each member of the Oregon Project, and Alberto for what he's done over the years.

"So I'm coming back and my new coach is going to be Gary Lough, who coached Paula Radcliffe through her marathon. I'm very excited to start a new project, a new start."

Larne native Lough helped guide Radcliffe's career, in which the British athlete became established as the world's best women's marathon runner and won a host of big-city races, including London and New York.

Speaking in a video on Twitter, Farah added: "I can't wait to be back home and can't wait to see my team Arsenal at the Emirates."

Farah won Olympic gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m at the London Olympics in 2012 and again four years later in Rio.

The 34-year-old Somali-born runner insisted: "I'm not leaving the Nike Oregon Project and Alberto Salazar because of the doping allegations."

Farah stressed he would have quit the partnership with Salazar if allegations against the coach had been shown to be true.

Farah added: "I'm a firm believer in clean sport and I strongly believe that anyone who breaks the rules should be punished.

"If Alberto had crossed the line I would be out the door but USADA (the US Anti-Doping Agency) has not charged him with anything.

"If I ever had any reason to doubt Alberto, I would not have stood by him all this time.

"I'm leaving simply because my family and I are moving back to London. We all loved spending our summer here and (Farah's wife) Tania and I realised how much we missed spending time with our friends and family - and the kids are happy here, too.

"We want the kids to grow up in the UK. It's the right thing for my family. But both the Nike Oregon Project and Alberto are in the USA, it would not be possible to continue our relationship."

Farah last competed in London in the World Athletics Championships in August and will take to the capital's streets next April in the London Marathon.

Lough factfile

Gary Lough is 47-years-old and is married to superstar long-distance athlete Paula Radcliffe.

 The pair met when they were sharing the same accommodation at Loughborough University.

 Lough, who hails from Larne, is the Northern Ireland record holder over 1,500m with a time of three minutes, 34.76 seconds which he ran in Monaco in 1995 when he was 25-years-old.

 That August, the former Annadale athlete finished ninth in the World Championships in a time of 3.37.59.

 Lough, who won several NI titles, was Radcliffe’s head coach for a large part of her glittering career.

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