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Radcliffe open to random tests

London: Upset at whispers that she may be a drugs cheat, Paula Radcliffe has invited athletics’ world governing body to carry out more frequent tests on her before and after October’s Chicago Marathon.

After stunning back-to-back performances over 5,000m at the Commonwealth Games and 10,000m at the European Championships, Radcliffe was angry to read suggestions in the French sports newspaper L'Equipe that the performances may have been enhanced by drugs.

The British runner, who won her first marathon in London in April, went within three seconds of the world 5,000m mark at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in late July and then beat the European 10,000m record in Munich just over a week later.

It was after those performances that the allegations appeared in L'Equipe and Radcliffe, a strong anti-drugs campaigner, said she was “deeply hurt and offended” and has decided to respond vie the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

“Since reading the article in L'Equipe, I have asked the IAAF to conduct random blood and urine tests on me in the build up to Chicago and at the competition itself,” she said.

“I would like these samples to be frozen and tested again in the future as new detection tests become available. This is the only way I can think of to prove that my results are the result of over 10 years of hard work, pain and dedication.

“It is sad that it has come to this but I am happy to take this step and encourage others to do likewise and silence the doubters,” Radcliffe said.

“Athletics is a wonderful sport that is about individuals pushing their bodies, minds and spirits as far as possible; it is natural and exhilarating. The whole doping issue is tarnishing our sport yet together we can beat it.

“I realise that doping is a problem in our sport and have always made no secret of my views,” Radcliffe said. “Indeed I am working with the IAAF and WADA to improve the situation, and we do now have a valid epo test.”

The IAAF said it supported Radcliffe’s stance against the drugs allegations.

“The IAAF is in favour of athletes who come up with their own initiatives to fight doping in athletics, and also to counter the equally damaging rumours that swirl around any notable performance,” said general secretary Istvan Gyulai.

“By suggesting that the IAAF freeze part of her samples for future testing, Paula is showing complete confidence in the validity of her current performances. But this is no surprise, since Paula has always campaigned for drug-free sport and has fully supported the IAAF’s out-of-competition testing programme.”

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