Marathon star Paula Radcliffe has hit out after being implicated in the athletics blood doping scandal.
The Bedford raised legend issued a strong worded statement after her name was linked to accusations of cheating.
Now retired and living abroad with her family Paula said: “I categorically deny that I have resorted to cheating in any form whatsoever at any time in my career, and am devastated that my name has even been linked to these wide-ranging accusations. 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.”
She as implicated during a Parliamentary anti-doping inquiry when chairman of the Parliamentary culture, media and sport committee Jesse Norman suggested that a British winner of the London Marathon was ‘potentially’ implicated.
Radcliffe, who moved to Oakley in Beds with her parents when she was 12 and honed her running skills with the Bedford and County Athletics Club, is a three time winner of the famous London race and remains the current women’s world record holder in the marathon with her time of two hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds.
She said: “Whilst I have the greatest of respect for anyone responsibly trying to uncover cheating in sport, and of course for Parliament itself, it is profoundly disappointing that the cloak of Parliamentary privilege has been used to effectively implicate me, tarnishing my reputation, with full knowledge that I have no recourse against anyone for repeating what has been said at the Committee Hearing.”
Blood doping is the practice of boosting the number of red blood cells in the bloodstream to enhance athletic performance.
Because these blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles, a higher concentration in the blood can improve an athlete’s aerobic capacity and endurance.
Although Radcliffe admits that some of her own personal data may reveal fluctuations, she said it will “stand up to any proper scrutiny and investigation”.
“In my case, numerous experts have concluded that there is simply no case to answer,” she said. “I have at all times been open and transparent, encouraging and supporting the use of blood profiling for many years. At no time have any of the various anti doping authorities found any reason to level any charge of abnormal practice or cheating against me whatsoever.
“My results were reviewed contemporaneously, and, more recently at my request following the Sunday Times’ articles, which insofar as they erroneously alluded to me were irresponsibly published.
“Nothing improper has ever been found, since it never occurred.”
She added: “I would like to reiterate my abhorrence at having fingers falsely pointed at me and being accused of having suspicious blood results and therefore of possibly cheating in the sport I love. I have never resorted to cheating in any form whatsoever at any time in my career.”
>To read the runner’s full statement click here