8 Sep 2015

Paula Radcliffe: I’m not a drugs cheat

Marathon world record holder Paul Radcliffe denies using drugs to boost her performance after questions were asked about athletes at a Commons inquiry.

Paula Radcliffe (Getty)

Ms Radcliffe, who has campaigned against the use of drugs in sport, said in a statement: “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.”

Paula Radcliffe made her statement after the culture, media and sport select committee discussed claims that winners of the London Marathon could have used performance-enhancing drugs.

‘Erroneously under suspicion’

She said she was disappointed her “identity was effectively leaked at the parliamentary hearing, under the guise of there being a British athlete and London Marathon winner who is erroneously under suspicion”.

The committee’s hearing followed the leak of an International Association of Athletics Federation database of 12,000 blood tests to the German broadcaster ARD and the Sunday Times newspaper.

She did not say anything when the claims were made, but said today: “At the time of the recent Sunday Times, I wrestled long and hard with a desire to speak out with the true facts concerning my position, and, to fully explain any fluctuations in my blood data.

‘Irreparable damage to my reputation’

“However, by ‘coming out’ in that fashion I was made aware that I would be facilitating mass coverage of my name in connection with false allegations of possible doping, which would enable further irreparable damage to be done to my reputation. As a result of today’s parliamentary hearing, I can no longer maintain my silence.”

Ms Radcliffe said “abnormal readings” were not proof of an athlete’s guilt, “yet many innocent athletes are being implicated and tainted due to the distorted interpretation of a limited historic dataset”.

She went on: “I am 100 per cent confident that the full explanations and circumstances around any fluctuations in my personal data on a very small number of occasions will stand up to any proper scrutiny and investigation. Indeed they have already done so. In my case, numerous experts have concluded that there is simply no case to answer.

“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.”

Ms Radcliffe is the women’s world record holder in the marathon, with a time of two hours, 15 minutes, 25 seconds. She has won the London and New York marathons three times each, and has also triumphed over 26 miles in Chicago.