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  Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Radcliffe makes placard protest
Paula Radcliffe (right) and Hayley Tullet
Radcliffe makes her feelings known about Yegorova
By BBC Sport Online's Tom Fordyce in Edmonton

Click here to have your say on the protest

Paula Radcliffe staged an extraordinary protest against Olga Yegorova's participation in the 5000m on Thursday night.

Seated trackside at the Commonweatlh Stadium with husband Gary Lough and 1500m runner Hayley Tullett, the Briton held up a cardboard sign which read 'EPO cheats out' as the field in the first heat passed her.

Radcliffe and a number of top athletes are unhappy that Yegorova is being allowed to compete despite testing positive for the banned performance-enhancing hormone EPO.


Now that the television cameras have seen what we wanted to say, I hope we have got the message across
Paula Radcliffe

The Russian was initially banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations but was reinstated on a technicality.

"We just thought that the girls in the race shouldn't have to make the protest," said Radcliffe, who has worn a red ribbon on her vest during races to symbolise her support for compulsory blood-testing of athletes.

"They should be allowed to concentrate on the race. But we wanted to make a point.

"Gary made the sign and we held it out until the security guards came and took it away from us.

"Now that the television cameras have seen what we wanted to say, I hope we have got the message across."

Edmonton officials were not the only ones who were unhappy with Radcliffe's protests.

"The Russians came over to us and said we were out of order and we should not be doing it," she added.

"But they are the ones who are out of order."

Olga Yegorova
Yegorova was under fire yet again
BBC Sport's athletics commentator Steve Cram said he understood why Radcliffe had made her protest.

"It is very frustrating for Paula and the other runners knowing that Yegorova has failed one version of a doping test," he said.

"That wasn't enough under the rules, but I can understand the point she is making and I'm supportive of her stance.

"If the IAAF cannot produce a reliable test for EPO then maybe the athletes themselves must start doing things like this."

Yegorova tested positive for the banned performance-enhancing hormone EPO at a Golden League meeting in Paris in July.

She was initially banned by the IAAF but was reinstated for this race on a technicality, when it was found that the French authorities had failed to take a urine sample in addition to the blood sample, as required under International Olympic Committee regulations.

Cram said that Radcliffe's protest was made in the right way.

"It's right that the girls involved in the race didn't make the protest," he said.


I am glad Paula did what she did
Gabriela Szabo
"Paula did the right thing voicing her opinion in the heat. It meant that it did not detract from the final."

Olympic 1500m champion Gabriela Szabo had threatened to boycott the 5000m if Yegorova was allowed to take part, but withdrew her threat on Wednesday.

The race heats on Thursday went ahead with Yegorova finishing second and Szabo in fourth, which means both runners automatically qualify for the next round.

Szabo was in full support of Radcliffe's actions, saying after the race: "I am glad Paula did what she did."

British runner Kathy Butler will also be upset by the decision to allow Yegorova to compete after missing out on qualification for the next round by one place.

She finished seventh, but compatriot Joanne Pavey had better fortunes in heat two, coming in second to claim her spot in the final.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Britain's Paula Radcliffe
"The athletes wanted to make their voice known"
Former Olympic Champion Seb Coe
"The sport has no place for people who fail drugs tests"
UK Sport's anti-doping director Michelle Verokken
"We 've got huge sympathy with all the athletes"

Sports Talk SPORTS TALK
Was Paula's banner the best way to express her opinion? Radcliffe rage
Was Paula right to protest trackside?

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