Paula Radcliffe reacts with fury to reports IAAF will strip her of marathon world record in radical overhaul

Ben Bloom
Paula Radcliffe sets the marathon world record in London in 2003 - AP

 

Paula Radcliffe has reacted furiously to news she could be stripped of her marathon world record, after the International Association of Athletics Federations was urged to accept a “radical” new proposal that would invalidate all records set before 2005.

European Athletics announced on Monday that its ruling council had accepted a project team’s ­recommendations to overhaul the record lists. That would require any athlete who sets a record to have been drug-tested on numerous occasions in the months beforehand, and for their sample to be available for ­retesting for 10 years.

The IAAF, the world governing body, has stored blood and urine samples only since 2005, with any records set before that date in danger of being expunged in a move that European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen admitted was “a radical solution”. 

That would include Radcliffe’s marathon world record of 2 hr 15 min 25 sec, which she set in 2003, or Jonathan Edwards’s 1995 triple jump mark of 18.29 metres. Mike Powell’s long jump world ­record of 8.95m, set in 1991, and ­Hicham El Guerrouj’s 1500m time of 3 min 26.00 sec, set seven years later, could also be under threat. There is no suggestion that any of these athletes doped.

Edwards won Olympic gold in Sydney in 2000, five years after setting the triple jump world record Credit: AFP PHOTO/Eric FEFERBERG

Radcliffe accused the sport’s governing bodies of “failing” athletes, questioning whether records set recently could be trusted any more than those of 20 years ago.

“Governing bodies have a duty to protect every clean athlete, here they again fail those athletes,” Radcliffe said in a statement. “We had to compete against cheats, they could not provide us a level playing field, we lost out on medals, moments and earnings due to cheats, saw our sport dragged through the mud due to cheats and now, thanks to those who chose to cheat we potentially lose our world and area records.

“Although we are moving forward I don’t believe we are yet at the point where we have a testing procedure capable of catching every cheat out there, so why reset at this point? Do we really believe a record set in 2015 is totally clean and one in 1995 not?

“I am hurt and do feel this damages my reputation and dignity. It is a heavy-handed way to wipe out some really suspicious records in a cowardly way by simply sweeping all aside instead of having the guts to take the legal plunge and wipe any record that would be found in a court of law to have been illegally assisted.”

 

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