Paula Radcliffe: Doping authority should back her says husband

Speaking in September, Paula Radcliffe denies cheating

Paula Radcliffe should be publicly backed by the World Anti-Doping Agency after she claimed she had been implicated in blood doping allegations.

Radcliffe's husband and coach Gary Lough said Wada must "protect clean athletes" after the ex-long distance runner "categorically" denied cheating.

The 41-year-old Briton has defended three 'abnormal' blood results after her data was made public.external-link

Lough said he wanted Wada to "come out and state there is no case to answer".

Radcliffe, who still holds the marathon world record, said she has been "almost abused" by calls for her to release her blood data, following the Sunday Times' allegations of doping in athletics.

"I am probably not happy with how Wada have handled this situation," Lough told BBC Radio 5 live. "I think this is a special circumstance and want them to come out and say this case is under review and there is no case to answer.

"That would definitely help us - that would be the only outcome of the investigation."

At a parliamentary select committee on Tuesday, Jesse Norman MP suggested London Marathon winners and medallists and "potentially British athletes" were under suspicion of blood doping.

Radcliffe was not specifically named, but issued a statement saying she had been "effectively implicated".

Paula 'should have been more selfish'

Paula Radcliffe and Gary Lough
Lough said Radcliffe has suffered from "whispers, the finger-pointing and the innuendo"

Asked whether Radcliffe should have come out earlier to defend herself against rumours, Lough said it was "the last thing they wanted to be associated with" and that initially, they "did not know what they were dealing with".

"It took everything to persuade her not to do it because her natural inclination is to shout from the rooftops, 'I have done nothing wrong, I have got nothing to hide'," said Lough. "She was going to take it upon herself to stand up for the sport.

"Paula probably should have been a bit more selfish. Something to do with doping goes to the heart of what she's about. You couldn't say anything worse in this world to her.

"She would do anything to defend herself and it is so hard not to do anything publicly. Now that she can, this will be cleared properly."

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Keep blood data private - RadcliffeWar declared on athletics - Coe

Blood data 'not even suspicious'

Radcliffe's 'abnormal' scores were 114.86, 109.86 and 109.3 in three blood test results, which were followed up and cleared by the IAAF at the time they were given.

Any score above 103 recorded by a female athlete can trigger further investigation, but Radcliffe, who set her world best time in 2003, said those three tests analysed by experts employed by the Sunday Times lacked context.

Guidelinesexternal-link from athletics' world governing body the IAAF say readings should not be taken within two hours of exercising.

Radcliffe said: "Two of those are invalid because they were taken immediately post-race and they would not be looked at for that reason.

"But if they are looked at by qualified experts with the full context, they would say that is totally explainable, that's not even suspicious."

Radcliffe also says all three samples were taken after periods of altitude training.

Lough added: "Paula does ask 'why is this happening to me?'

"What has been more stressful is the whispers, the finger pointing and the innuendo that she has had to deal with in the lead-up to this, when you know you have done nothing wrong but are in no position to do anything about it."

I absolutely believe Paula is clean - Coe

Seb Coe
Lord Coe says many cheats had been weeded out of athletics despite "intense embarrassment" to the sport

Lord Coe has backed Radcliffe - saying he "absolutely believes" she is clean.

The new president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Lord Coe has previously called the Sunday Times investigation a "declaration of war" on athletics.

But he will be called to the next parliamentary select committee meeting after Damian Collins MP said his comments were "inappropriate".

However, double Olympic gold medallist Coe maintained his robust defence of his sport on Thursday, questioning whether politicians should be "making judgements" on blood data information.

Lord Coe warned against "witch hunts" around athletes who were "doing their very best and doing it in a very clean way".

Coe told ITV: "I think everybody knows Paula is a clean athlete. She had to defend herself, which I thought she did very well the other day, but I don't think she should have been in the position of having to do that."