Mo Farah bust up with Gebrselassie escalates over assault claim

Mo Farah, right, had been staying at a hotel owned by Haile Gebrselassie, left. (Getty Images)
Updated 25 April 2019
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Mo Farah bust up with Gebrselassie escalates over assault claim

  • Farah claims Gebrselassie had made no effort to recover items stolen from his room at the Ethiopian’s hotel near Addis Ababa
  • Gebrselassie hit back by accusing Farah of not paying his heavily discounted hotel bill and said he had been seen by several people assaulting a husband and wife in the hotel gym

LONDON: Athletics icons Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie are locked in an escalating dispute just days away from the London Marathon with claims of robbery and an alleged assault at the heart of the row.
Britain’s quadruple Olympic champion Farah, aiming to win Sunday’s race, went public at his pre-marathon press conference with claims Gebrselassie had made no effort to recover items stolen from his room at the Ethiopian’s hotel near Addis Ababa.
Farah was staying at the hotel in late March as part of training for Sunday’s prestigious race.
Gebrselassie — a two-time Olympic champion — hit back by accusing Farah of not paying his heavily discounted hotel bill and told The Guardian on Thursday Farah had been seen by several people punching and kicking a husband and his wife in the gym.
“Farah said to him (the husband): ‘Why are you following me?’” Gebrselassie told the Guardian, adding that the man had been copying Farah’s exercise routine.
“The guy said he wasn’t — and that he was just doing his work.
“Immediately Farah punched them and kicked them by foot. Especially the husband. There were lots of witnesses.”
Farah’s camp denied the allegations.
“There was an incident at the gym a number of weeks ago, at which Haile was not present but it was categorically not of Mo’s making,” a source close to Farah told The Guardian.
“He immediately raised a complaint to the highest level within the police force.
“The individuals concerned were warned that any further threatening behavior toward Mo would result in police action.”
For his part Gebrselassie maintained that it was only thanks to his personal intervention police dropped an assault case against Farah.
The dispute was escalating as Farah was engaged in hardly ideal preparations for taking on world record holder and defending champion Eliud Kipchoge in Sunday’s marathon.
He alleged on Wednesday that around £2,500 pounds ($3,200) had been stolen on March 23 — his 36th birthday — from his hotel room along with a watch given to him by his wife Tania.
He had also earlier strongly dismissed Gebrselassie’s assault accusations, saying they were an effort to “distract from the situation, where members of his hotel staff used a room key and stole money and items from Mo Farah’s room.”
“Someone’s got the key from reception, opened it up, took my money, took my nice watch that my wife got me, and two phones,” said Farah.
“The watch was sentimental — it can’t be replaced.”
Farah, who finished third in last year’s race but has since set a new European record in landing the prestigious Chicago Marathon, also revealed the contents of a text message he sent Gebrselassie when he lost patience at not having his pleas for help answered.
“I want to inform you that I’m disappointed you have not made any effort to find my stolen money, and especially my watch,” the text read.
“I have tried to contact you by telephone several times.
“Know that I am not responsible for what I say during the press conference in London and what influence it will have on your personality and your business. Greetings, Sir (he has been ennobled by Queen Elizabeth II) Mo.”
Gebrselassie, who also won four outdoor world titles in his illustrious career, hit back claiming the text message looked like “an act of blackmailing and accusation” and added there had been “multiple reports of disgraceful conduct” at the hotel levelled against Farah and his entourage.
Gebrselassie denied the alleged robbery had been taken lightly, saying that five hotel staff were held in custody for three weeks while it was investigated.
“They were later released by legal bodies after they were found clear,” said Gebrselassie.
“The police were doing all their investigation thoroughly, but found nothing on the reported robbery case.”
It appears that the case has escalated to such an extent that the two athletics greats could end up in court.
“He (Farah) hired a lawyer in Ethiopia,” Gebrselassie told The Guardian on Thursday.
“And we have our own lawyer. And now the fight will start and we will see — and one of us will be the winner.”


Dutch cap Europe’s World Cup dominance by ousting Japan

Updated 26 June 2019
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Dutch cap Europe’s World Cup dominance by ousting Japan

  • The reigning European champions will need to maintain that composure as they prepare for a meeting with Italy

RENNES, France: Tears were still flowing from Saki Kumagai’s eyes more than 30 minutes later.
With victorious Dutch rivals passing her on the way out of the stadium, Japan’s captain seemed to find solace in speaking about the penalty long after it cost her team a place in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup.
With Tuesday night’s game entering the 90th minute locked at 1-1, Kumagai’s outstretched left arm blocked the shot Vivianne Miedema had aimed into the right side of the net.
“It had my hand for sure,” Kumagai said. “It’s difficult to accept but it’s also sad. I know that is football.”
Referee Melissa Borjas pointed to the penalty spot and Lieke Martens netted her second goal of the game in the 90th minute to seal a 2-1 victory that sent the Netherlands into the quarterfinals for the first time.
“We have made history,” Martens said. “I’m not usually taking the penalties but I felt really good this game. I asked Sherida Spitse if I could take it and she gave it directly to me and I felt quite relaxed about it.”
The reigning European champions will need to maintain that composure as they prepare for a meeting with Italy on Saturday after going one stage further than their Women’s World Cup debut four years ago.
“We were standing in the circle after the match and we were so happy, yelling at each other,” Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman said. “We were saying, ‘Let’s continue writing history.’“
It is journey’s end for Japan, which won the 2011 tournament and was the runner-up four years later.
The strength of the second-half display counted for nothing.
As befitting a meeting of the Asian and European champions, the game produced some of the slickest action of the World Cup. A backheel flick set up Martens to send the Dutch in front in the 17th minute and Yui Hasegawa equalized in the 43rd to complete a slick passing move.
But the post, crossbar and goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal thwarted Japan’s pursuit of a winning goal.
“I think we lacked the clinical edge,” Japan coach Asako Takakura said. “We have to accept the result, we’re defeated, we’re very disappointed and for all the players I feel very sorry for them and frustrated.”
With the last Asian team eliminated, the Women’s World Cup will have a record seven European teams in the quarterfinals. Norway and England meet in Le Havre on Thursday and France takes on the United States the following night. After the Netherlands plays Italy on Saturday, Germany and Sweden will meet.
“It’s really tough to be here,” Netherlands forward Miedema said. “Sometimes it kind of feels like a Euros.”
That is a title already won by this team, thanks to Miedema’s goals in the final two years ago on home soil.
The fans won’t have far to travel for the World Cup quarterfinal, with Valenciennes around two hours’ drive from the Netherlands.
It will be another chance for the orange-clad fans who danced and sang their way in a convoy to the stadium on Tuesday to stamp their mark on this tournament.
They were certainly given a game to savor, and an audacious opening goal.
Martens flicked in the opener after evading her marker to meet a corner and send the ball through the legs of Yuika Sugasawa into the net.
Sugasawa had a quick chance to tie, only to hit the post. But Japan did equalize by completing an intricate move.
Hina Sugita squared across the penalty area to Yuika Sugasawa, who passed back to Mana Iwabuchi on the edge of the penalty area. After holding off Jackie Groenen on the turn, Iwabuchi slipped the ball through to Hasegawa, who was free to delicately dink a shot over Van Veenendaal into the corner of the net.
It was some way to make the most of a first shot on target for a team that failed to score in two of its three group stage games.
But parity nearly didn’t last long.
Miedema received the ball from Shanice van de Sanden but with only Ayaka Yamashita to beat struck straight at the Japan goalkeeper.
Van Veenendaal came to the rescue of the Dutch in the second half by denying Emi Nakajima as Japan chased the winner.
“Japan is a world class team and you saw that today,” Miedema said. “In the second half you can see they have loads of quality on the pitch.”