Radio Sandwell Sport

Paula Radcliffe 'categorically denies' cheating

2015-09-08 17:29:07

Paula Radcliffe

Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe has "categorically" denied any form of cheating.

The 41-year-old Briton said questions raised during a parliamentary select committee "effectively implicated" her in the Sunday Times'allegations of blood doping in athletics.

Jesse Norman MP suggested winners and medallists at the London Marathon and "potentially British athletes" were under suspicion.

Radcliffe was not specifically named.

But she is a three-time London Marathon winner and the only British athlete since 1996 to triumph the event.

Following the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing, she issued a statement  saying she was "devastated" her name had been "linked to these wide-ranging accusations".

The Sunday Times published data from 5,000 athletes, which it had reviewed by scientists and said revealed an "extraordinary extent of cheating".

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) called the allegations "sensationalist and confusing" and denied it had failed in its duty to carry out effective blood testing.

Radcliffe said she had the "greatest respect" for people "responsibly trying to uncover cheating", but added she was "profoundly disappointed that the cloak of parliamentary privilege" had been used to tarnish her reputation, without recourse.

She said: "I have campaigned long and hard throughout my career for a clean sport. I have publicly condemned cheats and those who aid them. These accusations threaten to undermine all I have stood and competed for, as well as my hard-earned reputation.

"By linking me to allegations of cheating, damage done to my name and reputation can never be fully repaired, no matter how untrue I know them to be."

Radcliffe, who also won the New York Marathon three times and the Chicago Marathon, retired from competitive athletics this year following a persistent foot injury.

She said she "wrestled long and hard with a desire to speak out" following the initial publication of the joint Sunday Times and ARD/WDR investigation of 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes between 2001 and 2012.

She said she had wanted to "fully explain any fluctuations" in her blood data, but was advised she would risk her name being connected with "false allegations".

"As a result of today's parliamentary hearing I can no longer maintain my silence," she added.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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