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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Radcliffe calls for tougher drug testing
Paula Radcliffe
Radcliffe has regularly spoken out against doping
Paula Radcliffe wants to undergo random blood and urine tests before she runs the Chicago Marathon in a bid to dispel drug allegations made against her.

And Britain's distance-running queen even wishes her samples to be frozen so that more stringent future tests can confirm she is a "clean" athlete.

Radcliffe has been stung by criticism from the daily French sports newspaper, L'Equipe, casting doubt over her spectacular recent achievements.

In the last few months the 28-year-old has won the London Marathon in the second-fastest time in history and taken gold in the Commonwealth Games 5,000m, her first major title.


It is sad that it has come to this but I am happy to take this step
Paula Radcliffe

She followed that up with a new European 10,000m record, and the second fastest time ever, in striking gold at the European Championships 10,000m in Munich.

UK Sport has already revealed that Radcliffe has tested negative for drugs five times in the last year.

And as she prepares for a world record marathon attempt in Chicago in October, Radcliffe is happy to undergo more regular testing to prove her innocence.

In her diary on the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) website, to be published on Wednesday, she calls for regular monthly testing for top athletes.

"In the days that followed the championships I was disappointed and saddened by whispers that others believed I was using drugs in some way," Radcliffe writes.

"The most important thing is that I and those close to me know I am clean, but I was still deeply hurt and offended to read an article in L'Equipe magazine casting doubt on my achievements and those of others in Munich.

"I realise that doping is a problem in our sport and have always made no secret of my views.

Paula Radcliffe celebrates after winning the European 10,000m title in Munich
Radcliffe has enjoyed a spectacular year

"Indeed I am working with the IAAF and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) to improve the situation, and we do now have a valid EPO test.

"We as athletes need to work with the authorities to get blood-profiling schemes up and running.

"My idea is that regular three to four week screening can help us prove the validity of our performances and ensure the sport is fair but they can also double as health screening for us, and pick up danger signs of illness and over-training.

"Since reading the article in L'Equipe, I have asked the IAAF to conduct random blood and urine tests on me in the build up to Chicago and at the competition itself."

Radcliffe, who wears a red ribbon as a symbolic protest against EPO and other performance-enhancing drugs, wants the testing procedure to take on a new dimension.

"I would like these samples to be frozen and tested again in the future as new detection tests become available," she added.


Paula is showing complete confidence in the validity of her current performances
IAAF general secretary Istvan Gyulai

"This is the only way I can think of to prove that my results are the result of over 10 years of hard work, pain and dedication.

"It is sad that it has come to this but I am happy to take this step and encourage others to do likewise and silence the doubters.

"Athletics is a wonderful sport that is about individuals pushing their bodies, minds and spirits as far as possible; it is natural and exhilarating.

"The whole doping issue is tarnishing our sport yet together we can beat it."

Radcliffe's stance was endorsed fully by IAAF general secretary Istvan Gyulai, who praised her latest initiative.

"By suggesting that the IAAF freeze part of her samples for future testing, Paula is showing complete confidence in the validity of her current performances," Gyulai said.

"But this is no surprise, since Paula has always campaigned for drug-free sport and has fully supported the IAAF's out-of-competition testing programme."

See also:

12 Aug 02 | Athletics
08 Aug 02 | European Athletics
08 Aug 02 | European Athletics
07 Aug 02 | European Athletics
06 Aug 02 | European Athletics
28 Jul 02 | Athletics
14 Apr 02 | London Marathon 2002
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