World athletics’ governing body cleared marathon great Paula Radcliffe of allegations of doping Friday, and described claims it failed to act on evidence of doping as inaccurate.
Amid a robust rebuttal that it ignored hundreds of suspicious blood test samples over a decade, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) offered an emphatic defense of Radcliffe.
Radcliffe found herself under suspicion of doping following the publication of a database which contained hundreds of blood samples, 14 of which were given by Radcliffe. Three were deemed to be abnormal results.
“Ms Radcliffe should never have been forced to come out and defend herself against such insinuations,” the IAAF said. “She has been publicly accused of blood doping based on gross misinterpretation of raw and incomplete data.
“When all of the necessary information is considered, however, there are clearly plausible explanations for the values in her profile that are entirely incorrect.”
“For example, in two of the cases highlighted by The Sunday Times, the samples were collected immediately after competition. Any competent scientist would therefore immediately conclude that they should be disregarded.”
It is understood such a method of collecting blood samples within two hours of strenuous exercise is now banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, as dehydration causes tests to register false positives.
The IAAF added: “Any competent scientist would therefore immediately conclude that they should be disregarded.”
The verdict was featured in its detailed response to a British Parliament Culture, Media And Sport select committee hearing in September. IAAF president Sebastian Coe is due to give further evidence next week.
Radcliffe, though she had not in fact been named, felt forced to go public after she was linked to the allegations when the select committee chairman Jesse Norman commented she was the “high-profile British athlete” named in the investigation.
The IAAF concluded that Radcliffe was “hounded remorselessly” by the media and that there was “no basis whatsoever for the insinuations made against her.”