Paula Radcliffe

IAAF clears Paula Radcliffe, defends its blood testing program

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(AP) — The 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 president Lamine Diack, the International Association of Athletics Federations 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/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.

“Any competent scientist would immediately conclude that they should be disregarded,” the statement added.

The IAAF said it followed up by testing Radcliffe’s urine and blood samples for EPO and blood transfusions, and all the results came back negative.

“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 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 may 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 2 hours, 15 minutes, 25 seconds in winning the 2003 London Marathon. She also won the New York Marathon three times (2004, `07 and `08) 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 — including 55 golds — in disciplines ranging from the 800 meters 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 over a 12-year period by athletes who recorded suspicious tests.

The IAAF said Friday that its biological passport program — which monitors athletes’ blood profiles over time for evidence of doping — began in 2009 and that all screenings done before then could not be used as proof of doping.

“No charge could ever be brought based on the pre-2009 tests,” the statement said.

The IAAF said it would respond separately to allegations made in a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency commission this month that IAAF officials swept aside up to eight blood doping cases in 2012, allowing athletes to compete at the London Olympics when they should have been suspended.

MORE: Russia vows to follow all WADA recommendations on doping

Paula Radcliffe denies doping allegations

Paula Radcliffe
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LONDON (AP) — Paula Radcliffe, a three-time London Marathon winner who holds the world record for the distance, denied Tuesday that she ever used performance-enhancing drugs and said she was “devastated” that her name had been linked to allegations of wide-spread blood doping in track and field.

“I categorically deny that I ever resorted to cheating in any form whatsoever at any time in my career,” the British runner said in a strongly-worded four-page statement issued through her management company.

The 41-year-old Radcliffe, who has retired from international competition, said she was “effectively” implicated during a Parliamentary hearing Tuesday into allegations of doping leveled last month by The Sunday Times newspaper and German broadcaster ARD.

Jesse Norman, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said during the hearing that “potentially the winners or medalists at the London Marathon, potentially British athletes are under suspicion for very high levels of blood doping.”

Radcliffe, who won the London Marathon in 2002, 2003 and 2005, said she was “devastated that my name has even been linked to these wide-ranging accusations.”

“These accusations threaten to undermine all I have stood and competed for, as well as my hard earned reputation,” she said. “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.”

The Sunday Times and ARD reported that blood doping was rampant in the sport, citing leaked results from an IAAF database. The IAAF has strongly rejected suggestions that it had failed to follow up on the suspicious tests and that it wasn’t doing enough to uncover doping.

The media reports examined the results of 12,000 blood tests involving 5,000 athletes from 2001 to 2012, and concluded that 800 were suspicious. The reports said that 146 medals — including 55 golds — in disciplines ranging from the 800 meters 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 over a 12-year period by athletes who recorded suspicious blood tests.

“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,” Radcliffe said.

MORE TRACK AND FIELD: Radcliffe says farewell at London Marathon

London Marathon produces surprise men’s, women’s winners

Eliud Kipchoge
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge stunned the last two world-record holders to capture the London Marathon, 12 years after he defeated two legends in a World Championships 5000m.

Kipchoge, 30, clocked 2:04:42, pulling away from 2014 London winner and countryman Wilson Kipsang by five seconds. World-record holder Dennis Kimetto placed third in 2:05:50 to complete a Kenyan sweep.

“This was a real major championship,” Kipchoge said on the BBC. “Like an Olympic Games.”

Kipchoge also won the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12 and Olympic silver and bronze medals in the 5000m in 2008 and 2004, respectively.

At Athens 2004, Kipchoge was 19 years old when he finished behind legends Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele in the Olympic 5000m. A year earlier, he beat both of them at the World Championships in Paris.

Kipsang’s streak of three straight major marathon victories was snapped, a run that began with his 2013 Berlin Marathon win in a then-world record 2:03:23.

Kimetto, too, failed, in his first marathon after breaking Kipsang’s world record to prevail in Berlin in 2:02:57 on Sept. 28.

Ethiopian Tigist Tufa shockingly won the women’s race, her only previous major marathon being an eighth place in New York in 2013. She clocked 2:23:22.

Kenyan pre-race favorite Mary Keitany was runner-up, 18 seconds behind. Keitany, a mother of two, won the 2014 New York City Marathon and the 2011 and 2012 London Marathons.

Paula Radcliffe, the British world-record holder in her marathon farewell, was interviewed by the BBC’s Denise Lewis while she ran and eventually finished in 2:36:55.

“Especially down the last mile there, I just thought, I didn’t care about the time the whole way round, I was so tired, I just wanted to try and thank as many people as possible,” Radcliffe, 41, emotionally said on the BBC afterward, wearing a finisher’s medal after she hugged her two children. “I keep saying that my ears were ringing all the times I’ve run [the London Marathon], but that was even louder.”

The next World Marathon Major will take place at the World Track and Field Championships in Beijing in August.

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