Paula Radcliffe would be “proud” to support European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen’s mission to restore credibility in the sport and promote its growth by joining an anti-doping taskforce.
Hansen, who used to run Oslo’s famous Bislett Games, has invited the marathon world record-holder to join a group of ambassadors who will promote EA’s “run clean” campaign.
In a 20-page report called “Delivering Change”, Hansen said the taskforce will also be asked to ” review the credibility of all European records and conduct integrity checks on all European Athletics’ past athletes of the year and other award winners”.
Radcliffe’s husband Gary Lough confirmed to Press Association Sport that Hansen had discussed the idea with the three-time London Marathon champion and said: “She would be proud to help him, particularly as she is already closely involved with the (world governing body) IAAF’s athletes’ commission.”
The full taskforce line-up, and more detail on its work, will be announced at the next meeting of the EA’s executive board on January 23-24, although it is unlikely to start its work until after the EA Council meeting in April.
Press Association Sport understands that the possible deletion of suspicious records will be only part of the group’s remit, with Hansen keen to introduce a “run clean” licence system for athletes, but it is bound to attract the most attention given the sport’s recent headlines.
Radcliffe, a marathon, half-marathon and cross country world champion, was the subject of considerable scrutiny herself in 2015 after some of her blood samples were revealed, but she was exonerated of any wrongdoing by the IAAF and World Anti-Doping Agency.
There are, however, still 14 indoor and outdoor records held by athletes from East Germany, a country that operated an extensive state-sponsored doping programme prior to its reunification with West Germany in 1990.
The vast majority of Hansen’s report deals with the progress he believes EA has made since he took over in 2015 and the work that still needs to be done.
The Norwegian refers to 2015 as “the year of shock, scandal and disappointment for athletics”, but says the sport ” started a fight back” last year as it dealt with the fallout from IAAF corruption scandal and Russia’s exclusion from the Olympics for endemic doping. Hansen described that decision as the “only right thing” to do under the circumstances.
But, on a more optimistic note, his dream of a Ryder Cup-style United States versus Europe event is taking shape, with a first possible edition coming towards the end of the 2019 season, before the World Athletics Championships in Qatar.