UK Athletics’ (UKA) proposal for all world records to be struck out as way of restoring faith in the sport would be unfair to clean competitors, says Paula Radcliffe.
On Monday, UKA released a “manifesto for clean athletics” intended to spark debate on how to restore credibility in the sport, which has been rocked by allegations of doping and corruption.
The allegations emerged in a report published by an independent commission established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in November, the second part of which is due to be released on Thursday.
Along with harsher sanctions for offending athletes and federations, one of the 14 proposed measures from UKA suggests expunging all existing world records to mark a new “clean” era.
However, Radcliffe – whose world marathon record of two hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds has stood since 2003 – feels such an approach would unnecessarily punish innocent athletes.
“Without doubt you are going to punish innocent athletes and why are you going to do it again when they have already had to compete against cheats during their career? I feel that innocent athletes have suffered enough at the hands of drugs cheats,” she told The Guardian.
“I’ll never agree with the records being wiped because I know 100 per cent that at least one of those records was achieved clean and that means more were too.”
As a solution, the 42-year-old feels stripping violators of doping regulations of their times would be a better approach.
“One of my suggestions to UK Athletics was that if sufficient evidence comes to light about any athlete doping at any point, then all of their marks retrospectively get wiped for their entire career,” Radcliffe continued.
“It means, for example, that with Linford Christie all his marks would be gone because he failed a test in 1999.
“And OK, you are not saying they were cheating at that point, but the decision to dope means you forego and sacrifice everything you achieved before that. I think that is a strong deterrent.
“I think it is better to go down the route of where there’s suspicion trying to prove it.”
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