Saturday 16 December 2017

Paula Radcliffe urges athletes not to release blood test data

Paula Radcliffe
Paula Radcliffe Newsdesk Newsdesk

Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe has urged athletes not to make their blood data public because she fears there are risks involved.

With the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) facing allegations of doping and cover-ups within the sport, athletes such as Britain's double Olympic champion Mo Farah and European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey have released details of their blood testing in a bid to prove they have never cheated.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has advised against such a move and three-time London Marathon champion Radcliffe has given her backing to that stance, expressing concern that releasing such data could do more harm than good.

The retired 41-year-old told the BBC: "The key point is you can't prove you are clean. We don't have a foolproof, 100 per cent testing programme in place right now so we can't prove that.

"In some sense, what WADA are trying to say is we don't want this data out there in the public domain because people don't understand it, it is very complicated.

"Something like the blood passport has taken a long, long time to get to a position where it can be properly interpreted by proper experts and used.

"It is not a test you can fail, that is really important to stress. It is a tool that is used to guide more targeted testing and then can be built up to the point where the experts agree, it can be an accurate pointer to blood testing.

"But if you put too much of that information in the public domain you risk it being really misunderstood and misinterpreted. You also risk putting information into the hands of people who are trying to cheat that system. And that's not what it was ever designed to do."

Radcliffe also reiterated that she had never doped in her life and is proud of what she has achieved in long-distance running, despite attempts to cast doubt on her marathon world record time of two hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds, which has stood for 12 years.

She added: "People have said to me, 'Do you regret running that time because it is three minutes faster than other people, it is looked on with suspicion?'.

"But the whole point of my career was to see what I could do. I wanted to be able to get the end and say, 'Yes, that was the best I was capable of doing'. That was all very much hard work...I'm proud of it."

Press Association

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