Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah was involved in an altercation at Haile Gebrselassie’s hotel but was the victim of an attack, his coach says.
Farah and Gebrselassie are involved in a dispute over an alleged theft at a hotel belonging to the Ethiopian athletics great in Addis Ababa.
On Thursday, Gebrselassie said Farah “punched and kicked” a husband and wife during the Briton’s stay this year.
Farah’s coach Gary Lough said he was acting in self-defence.
Gebrselassie made further claims on Thursday that his falling out with Farah stems from when he would not allow Jama Aden, a coach who was arrested as part of an anti-doping operation in Spain in 2016, to enter the hotel.
A spokesperson for Farah said Aden “has never trained Mo” and that the allegation had “no basis” and is “not true”.
Lough, who was present during the incident, told the Evening Standardthat a man had approached Farah, 36, and his training partner Abi Bashir in the gym and that Farah had been threatened with dumbbells.
“I turn round and this guy comes over threateningly as if he’s going to attack Bashir and Mo tries to defend Bashir and hits the other guy,” said Lough.
“So, they’re grappling a little bit and the woman comes running and Mo turns round not knowing who it is and she got hit on the arm.
“She had two 5kg weights in her hands and was threatening to throw them at him.
“So I shout: ‘Put those things down or you’ll be in jail.’ Hotel security did nothing.”
On Wednesday, at a media preview event for Sunday’s London Marathon, Farah said that he had money, a watch and two phones taken from his room on 23 March.
He added that he was “disappointed” that Gebrselassie “couldn’t do nothing” to help retrieve his items.
Gebrselassie, 46, responded in a statement on Wednesday, accusing Farah of “blackmail” and “defaming” his reputation and business.
The two-time Olympic 10,000m champion said the alleged theft was reported and that five of the hotel’s employees were investigated but released without charge after three weeks in custody, adding that police “found nothing on the reported robbery case”.
Gebrselassie also claimed that hotel staff reported “disgraceful conduct” by Farah and his entourage and that he was reported to the police for “attacking a married athlete in the gym”.
He said a criminal charge was dropped because of his own mediation role.
On Thursday, Gebrselassie told The Guardian that Farah had confronted the man.