The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) cleared marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe of doping allegations on Friday and rejected claims that it failed to act on hundreds of suspicious blood tests, saying the accusations lacked “any scientific or legal basis.”
Track and field’s governing body issued a 38-page response to allegations by British and German media outlets that it had ignored and tolerated rampant blood doping in the sport.
“The IAAF is not complacent about doping in its sport,” the federation said. “It will continue to use every tool at its disposal to fight doping and protect clean athletes.”
The statement was released a few days before IAAF president Sebastian Coe faces a British parliamentary hearing into the doping allegations made by the Sunday Times newspaper and German broadcaster ARD.
Already reeling from revelations of government-backed doping in Russia and criminal corruption charges against former IAAF president Lamine Diack, the federation said it had a duty to set the record straight on the blood doping issue.
“The IAAF cannot sit idly by while public confidence in its willingness to protect the integrity of its sport is undermined by allegations of inaction [and] incompetence that are based on bad scientific and legal argument,” it said.
The IAAF singled out the case of Radcliffe, saying the three-time London Marathon winner was publicly accused of doping “based on the gross misinterpretation of raw and incomplete data.”
Elevated blood value readings in some of Radcliffe’s tests had “clearly plausible” explanations that were “entirely innocent,” the IAAF said.
The IAAF said it followed up by testing Radcliffe’s urine and blood samples for erythropoietin — a hormone that controls red blood cell production — and blood transfusions, and all the results came back negative. It said it collected 14 blood samples from Radcliffe for screening purposes from 2001 to 2008.
“The circumstances in which Ms Radcliffe came to be publicly accused are truly shocking,” the IAAF said, adding that she was “hounded remorselessly” by the media until she felt compelled to publicly defend herself.
“Obviously there’s been damage done to my reputation, and to the reputation of the sport, and that’s why I took the stand I did against this,” Radcliffe said on Friday after the release of the IAAF statement. “Yes, it was only me being singled out, but there are a lot of other innocent, clean athletes who have or may produce an atypical value at some point. That’s precisely why it has to be kept so confidential until an expert that’s properly qualified looks at it and assesses it.”
Britain’s national anti-doping agency said it also reviewed Radcliffe’s test results and agreed there was no case against her.
“The data does not provide any evidence that any anti-doping rule violation proceedings should be brought,” the UK Anti-Doping Agency said.
Radcliffe, who retired from competition this year, was publicly implicated during a British parliamentary hearing in August into the doping allegations leveled by the British and German media.
She acknowledged that her blood-testing data might have shown “fluctuations,” but insisted there were no “abnormalities” and experts had concluded she had done nothing wrong.
Radcliffe set the world record when she ran two hours, 15 minutes, 25 seconds in winning the 2003 London Marathon. She also won the New York Marathon three times — in 2004, 2007 and 2008 — and the Chicago Marathon in 2002. Radcliffe competed in four Olympics, but never won a medal.
The Sunday Times and ARD examined the results of 12,000 blood tests involving 5,000 athletes from a leaked IAAF database covering 2001 to 2012 and concluded there was evidence of widespread cheating.
The reports said that 146 medals in disciplines ranging from the 800m to the marathon at the Olympics and world championships were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests.
The Sunday Times also claimed the London Marathon was won seven times by athletes who recorded suspicious tests.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
Indian police are investigating an alleged betting scandal in which a sham cricket tournament was held in an Indian village and passed off as a Twenty20 contest played in Sri Lanka. Players portrayed as Sri Lankan cricketers played two matches on Monday last week that were broadcast with live commentary on YouTube, media reports said, along with ball-by-ball coverage on top Indian sports Web sites. The organizers hung Sri Lankan advertisements at the ground for added authenticity and put up tents to block the view from outside the remote rural venue, set in farmland next to a busy highway. Police said that they
Taipower on Sunday charged to their third straight win and took over first place in the Taiwan Football Premier League as previous leaders Taichung Futuro suffered their first defeat of the season, while Hang Yuan rallied from two goals down to complete a thrilling 3-2 victory over National Taiwan University of Sport (NTUS). Heading into the 10th round of matches, unbeaten Taichung Futuro led the league with 21 points, but they fell to their first defeat of the season, a 1-0 loss to Tatung at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung. In a match in which both defenses were on top and there
HOTSHOT: Luis Suarez scored his 194th goal for Barca, tying him with Ladislao Kubala as the club’s third-highest scorer, behind Cesar Rodriguez and Lionel Messi With another decisive penalty from Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid on Sunday extended their perfect run after the COVID-19 suspension and moved closer to their first Spanish title in three years. Ramos scored his fifth goal since the season resumed as Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to maintain a four-point lead over Barcelona, who beat fifth-placed Villarreal 4-1. Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann were among the scorers for Barcelona after assists from Lionel Messi. Ramos converted a 73rd-minute penalty to give Madrid their seventh straight victory and they remain the only team with a perfect record since La Liga resumed. “These three points are very