Paula Radcliffe, the current women’s world record holder in the marathon, has disclosed that authorities must fight to protect clean athletes and the integrity of athletics.

Paula remarked that the doping epidemic has casted a shadow over athletics that have prompted many to believe that she took drugs during her career. She remarked people regularly questioned the legitimacy of her 2 hours and 15 minute 25 seconds marathon world record and added she knows it is a proud achievement but it does make you angry and it does make you think we have to put a system in place that protects those athletes. Paula Radcliffe added it is hard to her to understand how other people who have cheated can stand there and look their competitors and family in the eye.

Recently, Liliya Shobukhova, the only woman to have run within three minutes of the 12-year-old record of Radcliffe, was banned for two years after abnormalities in her biological passport. Kenyan Rita Jeptoo, the fifth fastest marathon runner of all time, received a doping ban of two years from the sport after she tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), a blood-boosting banned drug.

Last November, the world of athletics was rocked by claims made in a German documentary Top Secret: How Russia Makes Its Winners that 99 per cent of Russian athletes use banned substances as part of a state-sponsored doping regime.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) recently banned Olympic steeplechase champion Yulia Zaripova for doping. RUSADA also banned Russian heptathlete Tatiana Chernova for two years. London Olympic 50 kilometer walk champion Sergei Kirdyapkin was banned along with Olga Kaniskina and Valery Borchin, who won the women’s and men’s 20 kilometer respectively in Beijing 2008, were also in the banned list as were the 2011 world champion in the 50 kilometer walk, Sergei Bakulin, and Vladimir Kanaikin, silver medalist at the 2011 world championships.

Radcliffe remarked there will be some Russians athletes who are not cheating, there are a lot of Kenyan athletes out there who are not cheating, and they are all being lumped together. She also said it spoils it so we have to do something to protect that and protect the sport. Radcliffe has been a fierce advocate of harsh punishments for athletes who are caught doping and she stirred controversy at the 2001 World Championships by holding up a sign reading “EPO Cheats Out” after a rival failed a test for the drug. Radcliffe remarked she is considering taking on a formal anti-doping role and added if you are going to have strong views about something you might as well get involved in actually doing something proactively to back it up.

Paula Radcliffe was appointed recently by Great Run, the world’s favorite Run series with 17 runs in the UK and abroad, as its women’s running ambassador. Radcliffe, speaking to launch a scheme to encourage people to take up running at the Great Manchester Run, said running is always going to be a huge part of her life and she just wants to try and get as many women and children as possible involved. The English long-distance runner said so getting involved, whether it’s with the IAAF or WADA or with this scheme, then great – it’s something she really feels passionate about.

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