The doctor who injected Mo Farah with a controversial performance-enhancing supplement has admitted that he failed to record the treatment correctly, causing the head of UK Athletics to concede he was not proud of his organisation’s handling of the incident.
Dr Robin Chakraverty administered an injection of L-carnitine prior to Farah’s marathon debut in London in 2014. Although not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, infusions of the supplement – described by Farah’s coach Alberto Salazar as possessing “incredible” performance-boosting effects – must not exceed 50 millilitres in the space of six hours.
Despite telling a hearing of the parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport select committee that Farah’s injection was a one-off dose of 13.5ml, Chakraverty blamed a “lapse” for its absence from the four-time Olympic champion’s medical records.
“There was a thorough record of all the conversations I had beforehand and there was documentary evidence on the day it was used,” said Chakraverty, who has left his role with UK Athletics and now works with the England football team. "However, I want to give some context. I’m a doctor in a lead sport – I was responsible for 140 athletes on the programme.
“Previously we’ve had four doctors working with UK Athletics, and in my time it went down to two doctors but one of them wasn’t working full time.
“So it’s an immensely busy job, and when you are working at a base, which for me was Loughborough, in your clinical room, and an athlete comes in and you have access to your computer your recording is very good. But where we have lapses is when you are on the road, when you are travelling, and that is probably the unique thing about this role that not all our athletes train in one area. If you don’t record it straight away, as I didn’t in this case, then it can be forgotten.
“However, having said that, it’s just the scenario you are in. It’s not an excuse.”
United States Anti-Doping Agency investigators looking into Salazar’s alleged doping and unethical practices have been unable to establish the dosage of Farah’s injection because of the lack of formal record keeping.
Speaking to the parliamentary sub-committee, Ed Warner, UK Athletics chairman said: “It was disappointing. That formed part of Dr Chakraverty’s own annual appraisal process. So if you saw his appraisal forms, that was marked out by himself and his line manager as in need of improvement.”
He added: “We have to work hard to make sure treatment on the move is recorded in the same way as if you walked into your GP. It shouldn’t have happened and I am not proud of that fact.”
Salazar strenuously denies any wrongdoing, as does Farah, whose spokesman has previously stated: “Mo is obviously not responsible or involved in the official record-keeping” of supplements or anti-doping tests.