British athletics legend Paula Radcliffe has strongly denied 'cheating in any form whatsoever' after she was named in a UK Parliamentary anti-doping enquiry today.
adclifffe, who holds the women's marathon record, has fiercely refuted claims that she cheated during her career when a Parliamentary enquiry alluded that she was one of seven British athletes to provide “suspicious blood values” between 2001 and 2012.
There had been rumours of doping after an IAAF database of 12,000 blood values was leaked to German broadcaster ARD and the Sunday Times earlier this summer.
She released a detailed statement today which read: "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.
"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.
"At the time of the recent Sunday Times coverage, 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. 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. The investigation by ARD and the Sunday Times may have been a perfectly valid enterprise if the goal was to expose cheats, their supporters, and, their infrastructures. If, however, innocent athletes, as in my case, are caught up in the desire to sensationalise and expand the story, then that goal loses a lot of credibility, and indeed, opportunities to catch the true offenders.
"I am 100% 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.
"I have at all times been open and transparent, encouraging and supporting the use of blood profiling for many years. 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."
"Not one of the values questioned by the Sunday Times occurred around any of my best performances or races, including all my appearances at the London Marathon. This makes it all the more disappointing that my 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."