Paula Radcliffe: Resetting world records 'would punish innocent'

Paula Radcliffe after winning the 2003 London Marathon
Paula Radcliffe has run the three fastest marathon times by a woman

Paula Radcliffe says proposals from UK Athletics to reset world records would "punish innocent athletes".

UKA made 14 suggestions, including longer bans for drug cheats, to usher in a "new era" of clean competition.

Radcliffe set the women's marathon world record in London in 2003.

"I'll never agree with the records being wiped because I know 100% that at least one of those records was achieved clean and that means more were too," Briton Radcliffe told the Guardian.external-link

"Without doubt you are going to punish innocent athletes, so why do it again when they have already had to compete against cheats during their career?"

Athletics has been hit by a number of doping and cover-up allegations, with Russia barred from international competition after a World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission report accused it of "state-sponsored doping".

Steve Backley preparing to throw the javelin
Steve Backley set the javelin world record on three occasions, twice in 1990 and once in 1992

The second part of that report, expected to focus on allegations that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the body that governs world athletics, was complicit in covering up systematic doping and extortion in Russian athletics, is due to be published on Thursday.

Responding to Radcliffe's comments, UKA chairman Ed Warner said: "I am delighted she disagrees strongly, because we are trying to provoke debate and a cattle prod to the IAAF to find ways to create a better sport."

Warner told BBC Radio 5 live his organisation had "set out to think the unthinkable" by suggesting "radical" changes, including extending the 26.2-mile (42km) marathon distance to 50km.

Russia doping crisis in 60 seconds

"Some are more achievable than others but we really want to stimulate a debate about what's needed to reset athletics to start a new era," he added.

Four-time European javelin champion Steve Backley, who set the world record on three occasions, told BBC Sport he "backed Paula's reaction".

"It strikes me a little bit as the baby out with the bathwater," he said.

"I think the sport does need to freshen up, as Ed put it, but I don't necessarily see that as a way of freshening up."