June 22, 2015 / 7:37 AM / 4 years ago

Salazar, Rupp in spotlight at U.S. trials

(Reuters) - Top American coach Alberto Salazar and Olympic 10,000 meters silver medal list Galen Rupp face tough questions at this week’s U.S. world championships trials after being accused of anti-doping violations

May 30, 2014; Eugene, OR, USA; Galen Rupp (USA) embraces coach Alberto Salazar in the 40th Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rupp, coached by Salazar, is favored to win both distance races at the trials, which begin on Thursday in Eugene, Oregon.

The American is scheduled to run the 10,000 meters on the opening night and the 5,000 on Sunday.

A BBC documentary and a U.S publication last week accused Salazar, who also coaches British double Olympic champion Mo Farah, of anti-doping violations and unethical behavior. Farah was not accused of wrongdoing.

Salazar, in a statement, called the reports “inaccurate and unfounded journalism”. He, Rupp and Farah all have denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

The coach, a consultant for British Athletics since 2013, has promised a detailed response that will “show the accusers are knowingly making false statements”, but so far he has not spoken publicly.

British Athletics are conducting a formal review into the relationship between Salazar and Farah with a report due in August.

The queries come as Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay, who have both served doping bans, are favored to claim top sprint honors on the U.S. team for the Aug. 22–30 world championships in Beijing.

Gatlin, who has not lost a sprint final since 2013, has a bye into the world meet in the 100 as the 2014 Diamond League champion, and elected to compete in just the 200 in Eugene.

“I think I’ll have enough 100s under my belt after nationals on the European circuit,” the year’s fastest man at both 100 and 200 meters said.

His 100m clash with world record holder Usain Bolt in Beijing is expected to be the highlight of the world championships.

Gay plans to run the 100 in Eugene, then make a decision on the 200.

“I am entered in both as of now,” he told Reuters. “If I do well enough in the 100, I may leave well enough alone and not put the extra pounding on my body.”

Along with Gatlin, 11 other U.S. world and Diamond League champions have received byes into the world championship.

The top three finishers in each event qualify for the world championships if they have met qualifying standards.

Veteran Mike Rodgers and newcomers Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell figure to chase Gay in the 100, while Gay, if he runs, and Isiah Young, are Gatlin’s top 200m challengers.

The men’s high hurdles should be a highlight with world champion David Oliver, Olympic winner and world record holder Aries Merritt and improving Aleec Harris all competing.

The next world 400 meters hurdles champion could come from the meeting, with season leader Bershawn Jackson, Johnny Dutch and Michael Tinsley, the Olympic and world silver medalist, all in the field.

A major clash also appears in store in the women’s 400 with Olympic 200 meters champion Allyson Felix taking on London 400 meters gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross and Francena McCorory before deciding whether to run the 200 or 400 in Beijing.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Nick Mulvenney

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