By Ian Chadband
LONDON (Reuters) – Paula Radcliffe is delighted to see her name cleared of doping allegations by athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, but the endurance running great believes her reputation has been left unfairly damaged during her fight for vindication.
The IAAF concluded on Friday, amid a rebuttal of claims it had not acted on evidence of widespread drugs cheating, that Britain’s world marathon record holder “had been publicly accused of blood doping based on the gross misinterpretation of raw and incomplete data.”
The Federation added that she “should never have been forced to come out and defend herself against such insinuations”.
Talking to Sky Sports on Friday, the 41-year-old Briton said she hoped that no athlete ever had to endure what she had gone through when she went public with the fact that she was the “high-profile British athlete” mentioned in a newspaper report and a Parliamentary hearing.
“I knew I’d done nothing wrong. I told journalists that at the time,” Radcliffe, a long-standing anti-doping campaigner, said.
“It’s taken this long to get the scientists to come together and put down why the data wasn’t reliable and wasn’t interpreted correctly and they’ve done that now.
“Obviously there’s been damage done to my reputation and to the reputation of the sport as well. That’s why I took the stand I did against this.
“It was only me being singled out but there are a lot of other innocent, clean athletes who may have produced an atypical value at some point and that’s exactly why it has to be kept so confidential until an expert looks at it and assesses it.
“In the climate of things maybe people think it’s not important right now but it’s important to me and the attacks made on my integrity and my credibility.”
Radcliffe, whose 2003 marathon record of 2hr 15min 25sec remains one of the sport’s most monumental achievements, felt forced to speak out after an MP suggested a British London Marathon winner was “potentially” implicated in blood doping allegations made in the Sunday Times.
(editing by Justin Palmer)