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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Radcliffe prepares pollution plan
By Simon Austin

Paula Radcliffe
Radcliffe is the marathon world record holder
Paula Radcliffe has drafted in pollution experts to aid her quest for marathon gold at the Beijing Olympics.

The World Health Organisation says air pollution could pose a threat to athletes at next year's Games.

And Radcliffe's husband and manager, Gary Lough, told BBC Sport: "Knowledge is key, so we're finding out as much as we can on how to counter the problem.

"We've taken advice from an array of people, from physiologists to people who have worked with the military."

Radcliffe, who will not be able to defend her world marathon title in Osaka next month because of a back injury, will be bidding for her first Olympic gold next year.

The 33-year-old suffers from exercise-induced asthma and Lough admits she may have to adapt the medicine she takes in Beijing.

We've known about this issue for a while and it hasn't affected Paula's decision to compete in the marathon at all

Gary Lough
Radcliffe's husband and manager

"She may have to adapt her doses or medication, but as long as we've done enough research and thought about it, it hopefully won't be an issue," he said.

"There's no point in us being especially concerned, because pollution's not really something you can control."

Despite concerns about the pollution in Beijing, Lough said Radcliffe's determination to compete in the marathon had never wavered.

"We've known about this issue for a while and it hasn't influenced Paula's decision to compete in the marathon at all," he said.

"You should respect conditions - whether it's hot, cold or polluted - but never fear them.

"The only thing you can really do is take precautions to minimise the effects and that's the route we're going down.

"We've gone to a real spectrum of experts to see what knowledge we can add to our repetoire.

"There has been a common theme to the advice we've been given, which I don't really want to go into.

"The British Olympic Association has been working with experts in the field as well, so there has been a cross over with them."

Gary Lough and Paula Radcliffe
Radcliffe has not yet set a date for a competitive return

Lough also emphasised that Radcliffe had won in very testing conditions before, most notably at the world half-marathon championships in Mexico in 2000.

"That was very hot and very humid and Paula won gold. Heat and humidity are going to be an issue in Beijing.

"Quite a few European cities are polluted, you just don't appreciate it."

Radcliffe, who gave birth to daughter Isla in January, has not been selected for the World Athletics Championships in Japan later this month because of a back injury.

She is the reigning world marathon champion and the world record holder at the distance.

The Bedford athlete has not set a date for a competitive comeback yet, but Lough says her training is "progressing well".

Beijing smog raises health fears
17 Aug 07 |  Other Sport...
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One year to Beijing
08 Aug 07 |  Other Sport...
Back injury frustrates Radcliffe
01 May 07 |  Athletics


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