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

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.”


Spain’s Marc Gasol on verge of rare NBA-World Cup double

Updated 15 September 2019

Spain’s Marc Gasol on verge of rare NBA-World Cup double

  • The 34-year-old proved his enduring quality by saving Spain in Friday’s double overtime victory over Australia

BEIJING: Spain’s Marc Gasol is one victory away from a rare feat — winning the NBA crown and a Basketball World Cup in the same year.

Only Lamar Odom, a double winner in 2010 with the US and the Los Angeles Lakers, has ever managed that, according to basketball’s governing body FIBA.

Now the center Gasol, who played a key role in the Toronto Raptors’ run to the NBA title, is on the verge of joining him in the history books.

The 34-year-old proved his enduring quality by saving Spain in Friday’s double overtime victory over Australia to set up a World Cup final against Argentina on Sunday in Beijing.

He had 33 points, six rebounds and four assists after stepping up when his country needed him most.

Gasol, who also lifted the world crown with Spain in 2006, said he was less interested in his personal landmark and more motivated by what it means for his country.

“I just cherish every moment for what it is,” the three-time NBA All-Star told FIBA. “I don’t try to double up. I want to give the maximum for every occasion.

“It is two completely different situations. I’m going to give my best to win a World Cup for Spain.”

BACKGROUND

Outgoing champions Team USA won their final match at the Basketball World Cup — but it was still their worst finishing place in the tournament’s history.

Gasol admitted that playing matches every other day in China soon after a long NBA season was tough.

“I knew that committing to the national team this summer would not be easy physically because we were so lucky to stretch our (NBA) season and get away with a championship,” he said.

“But it’s completely worth it.”

Few predicted a Spain-Argentina final.

But quarter-final defeats for reigning two-time champions the US and title favorites Serbia left the door open for the remainder of the field.

Argentina were convincing 80-66 winners over France in their semifinal with their 39-year-old talisman Luis Scola propelling them into the showdown with Spain.

Scola finished with 28 points, 13 rebounds and two assists, and was given a huge ovation when he stepped off the court near the end.

Argentine coach Sergio Hernandez said there was no secret ingredient to Scola’s success, even as middle age approaches.

“He works so hard,” said Hernandez, explaining how Scola had locked himself away in his own training camp at the start of the summer.

“He was in his house, in the middle of nowhere, for 14 weeks in a row,” said Hernandez.

“He made a basketball court and was there was a basketball trainer and a physical trainer.”

Argentina’s only previous World Cup success came as hosts in the inaugural edition in 1950.

Also on Sunday, Australia, who led for long periods against Spain, play France for bronze.