Monday 20 May 2019

Sonia O'Sullivan defends 'clean' Paula Radcliffe as Sky News leak blood test results

Sonia O'Sullivan and Paula Radcliffe pictured together at the European Athletics Championships in Munich in 2000
Sonia O'Sullivan and Paula Radcliffe pictured together at the European Athletics Championships in Munich in 2000 Newsdesk Newsdesk

The World Anti-Doping Agency on Friday evening insisted it "must remain impartial" after Paula Radcliffe's trainer and husband called on it to clear her of all doping allegations.

Details from Radcliffe's blood test results have been made public by Sky News, and the marathon world record holder says they prove she is innocent.

Husband Gary Lough told BBC Radio 5 Live: "A panel of WADA experts have reviewed the data - I don't know what stage that's got to but I think it was three or four weeks ago WADA stated that.

"Paula is now 'out there' and to my mind WADA is supposed to protect the clean athletes.

"While WADA says the commission is possibly not ready to report until October, possibly later, I think this is a special circumstance.

"I would like them to come out and say her file has been reviewed and there's no case to answer."

WADA, in response, said it would leave its probe into doping allegations in international athletics to run its course.

Radcliffe's results showed three "off-scores" were 114.86, 109.86 and 109.3 - Press Association Sport understands the figures to be correct.

Scores above 103 by a female athlete can be regarded as "suspicious", but training at altitude and tests taken immediately after a race can cause higher results.

Radcliffe herself said the results had been looked at by an independent expert and she had reports clearing her.

She told Sky News: "I had to wait to get those in place but I'm very glad I have them."

Radclifffe, who holds the women's marathon record, has fiercely refuted claims that she cheated during her career when a Parliamentary enquiry earlier this week alluded that she was one of seven British athletes to provide “suspicious blood values” between 2001 and 2012.

She released a statement following the enquiry but Irish athletics legend Sonia O'Sullivan felt she was wrong to do so.

"Paula has always been very outspoken against drugs and her stance that she has never cheated before," she told Off The Ball on Newstalk.

"I think in a way she's brought a lot of the attention on herself this week, probably more than was necessary and she probably could have let it go a bit quieter than she did

"Who else knew that they were speaking about her in parliament.

"She knew because she was watching it.

"I think she probably shouldn't have made a statement."

Asked about Radcliffe's incredibly fast marathon record, O'Sullivan added: "It's a fair bit off the charts, it's way out there but I was told recently, that on that day she was in the best possible shape she could ever be in and it was a perfect day weather wise and apparently there was a gale force wind behind her going down the straight and it was never repeated again.

"You get rare days like that. Sometimes you get advantages in a way that are uncontrollable.

"I'm sure she was clean when she was doing it.

"I was with physiotherapist Gerard Hartmann from Limerick and he worked closely with Paula and he said that he would bet his house that she is absolutely clean.

"I would believe him because I trust him and we're really good friends.

"I think he knows her as well as anyone else."

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