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Salazar denies abuse, admits ‘callous’ language

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Banned coach Alberto Salazar has admitted using “callous” language as part of his demanding training methods at the disbanded Nike Oregon Project © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / ANDY LYONS

LOS ANGELES, United States, Nov 13 Disgraced running coach Alberto Salazar denied subjecting former members of his Nike Oregon Project to abuse or gender discrimination on Tuesday but admitted using “callous” language against athletes in the training group.

Salazar, who was banned for four years last month for a range of doping offences, has faced stinging criticism from several former runners over methods used in his controversial Oregon Project, which has now been disbanded.

Last week, former US runner Mary Cain said she had suffered physical and mental abuse at the training camp as a result of Salazar’s demanding regime.

Cain, a former high school prodigy who was tipped for middle-distance greatness, said she had suffered suicidal thoughts and started cutting herself as life in the training group took its toll.

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Cain detailed how she had faced pressure to become “thinner and thinner and thinner,” eventually causing her to stop menstruating for three years.

Another former runner, Olympian Amy Begley, said Salazar barred her from the training group in 2011, complaining she was “too fat” and “had the biggest butt on the starting line.”

In a statement to The Oregonian newspaper Tuesday, Salazar acknowledged using insensitive language but insisted it was part and parcel of life as an elite athlete.

“On occasion, I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive over the course of years of helping my athletes through hard training,” Salazar said.

“If any athlete was hurt by any comments that I have made, such an effect was entirely unintended, and I am sorry.

“I do dispute, however, the notion that any athlete suffered any abuse or gender discrimination while running for the Oregon Project.”

Salazar said his emphasis on weight was related to “what (an athlete’s) target training weight and performance weight should be to attain peak performance while maintaining an overall good well-being.”

“That’s part of elite sport,” Salazar said. “Maybe that needs to change. Indeed, I have always treated men and women similarly in this regard — to treat my female athletes differently I believe would not be in their personal interests or in the interests of promoting their best athletic performance.”

Nike shut down the Oregon Project in October when Salazar was banned for four years for an array of doping offenses that included trafficking in testosterone, tampering with the doping control process and administering illicit infusions of the fat-burning substance L-carnitine.

Salazar has denied wrongdoing and vowed to appeal the ban.

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Solberg Jnr replaces Pierre-Louis for WRC Safari – KBC

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Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Team has made a change to it’s WRC2 team for Safari replacing Pierre-Louis Loubet with 19 year old Oliver Solberg.

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The change of crew hands young Solberg an opportunity to resume his family dream on the fabled Safari which was first held from 27 May to 1 June 1953 as the East African Coronation Safari in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Solberg Senior finished the WRC Safari 5th on the 1999 and 2000 editions driving a Ford Focus and navigated by his eventual Championship- winning navigator Phil Mills. In 200 and 2002, Petter retired on Safari after he lost a wheel and suffering engine gremlins on both occasions.

Oliver was forced to withdraw from last week’s Rally Italia Sardegna after his father, 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg, tested positive for coronavirus.

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Oliver was gearing up for his second top flight World Rally Championship outing with Hyundai at last weekend’s s Italian event.

However having been in contact with his father, Oliver was compelled to remain in quarantine in a hotel in Porto for 14 days as per the FIA Appendix S regulations.

The FIA’s Appendix S COVID-19 protocol and national government regulations offer clear quarantine instructions for those in close contact.

“You can imagine, I am more than disappointed by this news. I am a little bit devastated,” The 19-year-old Solberg told www.motorsport.com last week.

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WRC Safari Rally Event Secretary Helen Shiri confirmed Oliver’s Safari participation saying: “Hyundai WRC 2 team car number 7 has changed the crew from Driver Pierre-Lous and co-driver Florian Haut-labourdette both from France to Oliver Solberg (Swedish) and  Co-driver Aaron Johnston (Ireland). The car, a Hyundai i20 Coupé, remains intact.”

Meanwhile, it’s been a meteoric rise for the son of world champion Petter.

Less than two years after his maiden rally in a four-wheel drive car, the teenage sensation was competing at the WRC’s top level.

Aged just 17, Oliver became the youngest winner of a European Championship rally in 2019.

With a father and a mother from a well-known Swedish motorsport family and a former Production WRC competitor in her own right, there was a sense of inevitability that a career at the wheel was inevitable for Oliver Solberg. 

Solberg’s early years were spent racing in crosskarts.

In 2012 he won the Norwegian Championship before a step up to a higher class brought consecutive title wins in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

In 2019 Solberg stepped into R5 machinery, driving a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in the Latvian/Estonian/Baltic Rally Championship. He took to the increased power immediately and racked up five class wins on his way to the championship title.

He also followed in his father’s footsteps to join Subaru Motorsports USA. He drove a latest-spec Impreza STI, winning three of the six rounds

After making his WRC debut at the 2019 Rally GB, Solberg stepped into a full WRC campaign in 2020, driving his own Polo R5 alongside a partial campaign with Skoda Motorsport.

The WRC returns to Africa for the first time since 2002. The Safari of old has evolved to fit the modern-day WRC, but its character remains with challenging closed dirt roads, stunning picture-postcard scenery and exotic wildlife.

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Three more suspected robbers arrested along Southern by-pass – KBC

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Three more suspects have been arrested in connection with the recent spate of robberies targeting motorists along the Southern by-pass.

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The three were arrested in Kibra by detectives based in Langata.

Their arrest follows a detailed analysis and investigations of the robberies, with detectives employing cyber and forensic analysis techniques to identify the beneficiaries of the crimes.

Boniface Winjira Unganyi, the proprietor of Basement Crew mobile shop within Lindi in Kibra, was arrested as the key suspect after a total of 102 mobile phones suspected to have been stolen from victims were recovered from his shop.

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Also arrested were 35-year-old Alex Mboya, who was found in possession of a victim’s phone, and a 16-year-old minor, studying at a secondary school in Langata.

Five other suspects have been arraigned in recent weeks in connection with the violent robberies.

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