Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 May 2019

Mo Farah slams Haile Gebrselassie over theft at Ethiopian's hotel

Farah lost cash and a watch given to him by his wife in the hotel theft

Sir Farah criticised his fellow running great at a press conference before Sunday's London Marathon. Reuters
Sir Farah criticised his fellow running great at a press conference before Sunday's London Marathon. Reuters

Distance runner Mo Farah has criticised fellow running great Haile Gebrselassie for failing to help him after he was robbed at a hotel in Addis Ababa owned by the Ethiopian.

Farah said about £2500 pounds (Dh11,850) in four currencies, two mobile phones and a valuable watch given to him by his wife were stolen from a locked suitcase in his room while he was on a training run on March 23.

The Briton came third in last year's London Marathon and faces a monumental challenge to overcome Kenya's world record holder and defending champion Eliud Kipchoge in Sunday's race.

Farah said he had little help from hotel staff in dealing with the theft and even less from Gebrselassie, a national legend in Ethiopia after a track career that earned him two Olympic golds, four world titles over 10,000m and several world records.

"He didn’t respond even though that’s his hotel," four-time Olympic champion Farah said at the London Marathon launch on Wednesday.

He read out the last message he sent to Gebrselassie: "I want to inform you that I’m disappointed you have not made any effort to find my stolen money and especially my watch.

"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."

He signed off: "Sir Mo."

Gebrselassie’s agent Jos Hermens said he would issue a response in due course, while the hotel, the Yaya Africa Athletics Village, did not respond to a request for comment.

Farah will need all his focus to be back on the task at hand on Sunday.

Although the race is widely seen as something of a head-to-head between him and Kipchoge, Farah is only the eighth-fastest man in the field and his best of 2:05.11 is almost four minutes adrift of Kipchoge's astonishing world record of 2:01.39, set in Berlin.

The Kenyan, who has won 10 of his 11 marathons including the 2016 Olympic Games, is seeking an unprecedented fourth London win and would need to have an off day to open the door to any of his rivals.

But Mr Farah said he was not turning up "expecting to finish third or fourth".

"You look up to these guys, you have to learn from the best and I have learnt from each race I've done," he said.

Updated: April 25, 2019 03:36 AM

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