Wada defends radcliffe

Anti-doping body says data pre-dating 2009 can't be considered as indicative of doping

LONDON • The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has responded to marathon record-holder Paula Radcliffe's call to "help clear her name" by saying it is committed to protecting the confidentiality of all athletes' blood data.

The Briton, who retired from competitive running this year, complained last week that a British parliamentary committee hearing into wide-ranging accusations of blood doping in athletics had "effectively implicated" her.

The agency's director-general David Howman noted in a statement on Friday that media reports had included an appeal to Wada by Radcliffe, who has faced calls to release her data and denied cheating "in any form".

She set her world-best time in 2003 and won the world title two years later.

Howman emphasised that no information dating from before 2009 "could ever be considered as doping, legally or otherwise".

"Tarnishing an athlete's name based on values from pre-2009 would be wholly irresponsible," he said. "Even athletes' data from post-2009, when the ABP (athletes' biological passport) had been introduced, is not necessarily indicative of doping.

"Wada is committed to protecting the confidentiality of athletes.

"In particular their private medical information."

Radcliffe, 41, was not mentioned by name during the hearing at the department of culture, media and sport. But she has endured days in the public spotlight after MP Jesse Norman inadvertently alluded to the fact that she was the successful British athlete whose blood data was under scrutiny.

The hearing took place following recent reports by Britain's Sunday Times newspaper and German TV station ARD of alleged blood-doping in athletics.

Last Thursday, Radcliffe allowed Sky News to release her blood test results, after claiming the pressure being put on her to do so was "bordering on abuse".

But British long-distance runner Mo Farah said Radcliffe must make her own decision about what is best for her as she fights to protect her reputation.

The world 5,000m and 10,000m champion added that he felt relief after allowing his blood data to be published last month because he believes it persuaded many of his doubters that he is clean.

His decision came after his coach, Alberto Salazar, was accused by the BBC of violating anti-doping rules.

These included giving the banned drug testosterone to Galen Rupp, Farah's training partner.

Farah was worried that mud could stick on him too.

"I did it because I have nothing to hide," he said.

"I think it's up to each athlete, what they feel comfortable with."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN, XINHUA, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 13, 2015, with the headline 'WADA DEFENDS RADCLIFFE'. Print Edition | Subscribe