Athletics: Mo Farah slams rival Haile Gebrselassie over hotel robbery

Mo Farah & Haile Gebrselassie contest the Great North Run
Mo Farah & Haile Gebrselassie contest the Great North Run. Photo credit: Getty

Mo Farah has slammed fellow distance-running great Haile Gebrselassie, accusing him of failing to help him, after he was robbed at an Addis Ababa hotel owned by the Ethiopian superstar.

Farah, who is running in Sunday's London marathon, said about 2500 pounds (NZ$4900) in four currencies, two mobile phones and a valuable watch presented to him by his wife were stolen from a locked suitcase in his room, while he was out on a training run on March 23.

Farah said he got little help from hotel staff in dealing with the issue and even less from Gebrselassie, a national icon in Ethiopia, after a stunning track career that earned him two Olympic golds and 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 told reporters at the London Marathon launch on Wednesday.

Farah was so furious that Gebrselassie ignored his repeated texts and calls that he shared the last he sent, that threatened to publicly shame the Ethiopian.

"I want to inform you that I'm disappointed you have not made any effort to find my stolen money and especially my watch," he wrote.

"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 the former world recordholder, who is president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation, would issue a response in due course, while the hotel in question - the Yaya Africa Athletics Village - did not respond to a request for comment.

At his peak, Gebrselassie won two Olympic gold medals and four world titles over 10,000m, while holding world records for 5000m, 10,000m, half-marathon and marathon.

Farah's career only slightly overlapped Gebrselassie's, highlighted by four Olympic golds and six world titles over 5000m and 10,000m, without ever challenging his rival's fastest times.