Radcliffe, the 41-year-old three-times London Marathon winner and marathon world record holder, went public to defend her name, claiming she had been effectively identified by a committee of MPs as having provided suspicious blood samples.
Now, in its response to the House of Commons culture, media and sport (CMS) select committee, the IAAF said there were innocent reasons for the values in her blood profile. Follow-up tests on urine and blood samples all proved negative.
Radcliffe said last night: “It is a relief. It should never have come to this. The reason I spoke out was to protect myself and protect my name. It was important I took a stand knowing there were other innocent athletes out there.” The IAAF said it was “shocking” the distance runner should have been publicly accused. The organisation said in its statement: “Paula Radcliffe was hounded remorselessly in the media for several weeks until she felt she had no option but to go public in her own defence.
“The circumstances in which Ms Radcliffe came to be publicly accused are truly shocking. She has been publicly accused of blood doping based on the gross misinterpretation of raw and incomplete data. Ms Radcliffe should never have been forced to come out and defend herself against such insinuations. When all of the necessary information is considered, however (as the World Anti-Doping Agency athlete biological passport protocols require), there are clearly plausible explanations for the values in her profile that are entirely innocent.
“The data therefore provides no basis whatsoever for the insinuations made against her.” UK Anti-Doping said it had also concluded there was no case for her to answer. IAAF president Sebastian Coe is to give evidence to the CMS committee on Wednesday and the world athletics organisation has come out strongly in defence of its handling of suspicious blood samples taken between 2001 and 2009, when athletes’ biological passports were introduced.
The IAAF statement said: “In two of the cases highlighted by the Sunday Times, the samples were collected immediately after competition (when dehydration causes a decrease in plasma concentration, and so an increase in reported haemoglobin concentration, even though there has been no increase in red blood cells). Any competent scientist would therefore immediately conclude they should be disregarded. Furthermore, the IAAF followed up by testing Ms Radcliffe’s urine samples for EPO, and her blood samples for evidence of blood transfusions, and all of those tests came back negative.”
The IAAF said it screened nearly 8,000 blood samples for potential markers of blood doping, and followed up with thousands of urine tests to detect the presence of rEPO which has led to 145 athletes being caught with the blood doping agent in their systems.