Radcliffe ‘devastated’ after being linked to athletics dope cheats

PAULA RADCLIFFE said she was “devastated that my name has even been linked” to wide-ranging accusations of cheating in sport.

Paula Radcliffe

The marathon world record holder issued a strongly worded statement after MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee began an investigation into blood doping in athletics.

Committee chairman Jesse Norman was questioning David Kenworthy, chairman of UKAD, the UK’s national anti-doping agency, when he seemed to raise suspicions about a prominent British marathon runner.

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He asked Mr Kenworthy during the House of Commons hearing: “When you hear that the London Marathon, potentially the winners or medallists at the London Marathon, potentially British athletes are under suspicion for very high levels of blood doping.

“When you think of the 
effect that has on young people and the community nature of that event, what are your emotions about that? How do you feel about that?”

Mr Kenworthy said: “I think it is a tragedy if you and I are looking at a sporting event with a degree of cynicism about what we are seeing. I think it is our role to overcome that cynicism.”

Radcliffe, 41, hit back by issuing a statement saying: “I categorically deny that I have resorted to cheating in any form whatsoever.”

The hearing was set up after Dr Michael Ashenden helped produce a controversial analysis which suggested the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had turned a blind eye to hundreds of suspicious blood tests.

The claims by German broadcaster ARD and The Sunday Times appeared last month.

Radcliffe said: “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.”