MARATHON world record holder Paula Radcliffe has issued a 1,700-word statement after comments raised by a parliamentary select committee ‘effectively implicated’ her in an investigation by the Sunday Times into doping.
MP Jesse Norman suggested that London Marathon winners and medalists and ‘potentially British athletes’ were under suspicion although no individual was named. However, as a three-time winner and the only British athlete to win since 1996, she believes that she is without question implicated.
Following the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing, Radcliffe issued a statement saying she was ‘devastated’ her name had been ‘linked to these wide-ranging accusations’.
With regards to the Sunday Times report, 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.
In her statement, the athlete who has now retired due to injury 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 went on to say ‘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.’