Paula Radcliffe, seen en route to her world half-marathon title win in 2003, where she was blood tested afterwards, claims to have been backed up in her insistence she is a clean athlete by new figures ©Getty Images

The details of the three contentious blood test results which were used to cast doubt on the veracity of Paula Radcliffe’s athletic performances by two experts working with The Sunday Times have been revealed by Sky News - and she claims the evidence backs up her insistence she is a clean athlete

Sky News claims to have “seen” the “off-scores” in question, adding that the blood values of the world marathon record holder in the three tests were 114.86, 109.86 and 109.3.

Anything above 103 recorded by a female athlete can be a trigger for investigation and target-testing, but the "normal" threshold can rise for a number of reasons, including altitude training and tests taken immediately after extreme exertion, it is claimed.

Radcliffe has claimed all three samples were taken after periods of altitude training and two, including the highest, were taken immediately after she had raced.

Sky News has claimed that two of the figures fall below the cut-off for altitude training recommended by the experts used by The Sunday Times, in a peer-reviewed paper.

In 2003 Michael Ashenden and Robin Parisotto, who worked closely with The Sunday Times, contributed to a paper in the journal Haematologica, which said the commonly used cut-off value for females training at altitude is 111.7, higher than two of Radcliffe's test scores.

Radcliffe claimed the third, which gave the highest reading of 114.86, can be explained by circumstances that would now render it invalid.

It came from a sample taken immediately after at the 2003 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Half Marathon Championships in 29C heat in Vilamoura, Portugal, a race she won in 1 hour 07min 35sec. 

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) now considers any samples taken within two hours of competition as invalid, because exertion can affect blood values.

Paula Radcliffe, pictured en route to her 2003 world marathon record, has had her claims of being a clean athlete backed up by blood test sample figures released by Sky News ©Getty Images
Paula Radcliffe claims newly-released blood values show she is a clean athlete ©Getty Images

Radcliffe claimed that without this crucial context, the experts could not reach an informed conclusion on her blood values based purely on the information in the database.

By way of rough comparison - although blood levels vary from athlete to athlete - the values mentioned in the Sunday Times article regarding Liliya Shobukhova, the Russian marathon runner whose performances since 2009 have been annulled following adverse findings in her Athlete Biological Passport, were alleged to have risen from 127 in 2005 up to 156 in 2011.

Speaking to Sky News, Radcliffe claimed the test results were followed up and cleared by the IAAF at the time they were given, and she has since had independent expert advice that clears her name.

She also claimed that her case demonstrated the complexities of analysing blood values, and the difficulty of drawing conclusions without the full context.

"This data needed to be looked at in context by the right experts so I requested WADA go back and go over again all of this data,” she said.

"UK Anti-Doping can do that as well.

"I know that the IAAF have done that, I have requested that independent experts do that and I have those reports.

"I had to wait to get those in place but I'm very glad I have them. They can tell me you don't have three values that crossed any threshold, not when you apply the context of whether the test followed a period of altitude training or was carried out at altitude.

"Not when you apply whether the two hour rule - that it cannot be used within two hours of hard competition or hard training - is not valid. That rules out two of the tests they are referring to, and the other is not above the threshold."

The three tests were reportedly drawn from an IAAF database of athlete’s blood samples leaked to The Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD.

According to the newspaper, the test results, which they attributed to "a top British athlete", were "highly unusual" and "abnormal".

It said one of the test results could be attributed "to an illicit blood transfusion, but this is only a suspicion and certainly not proven by the results".

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