International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe has come out in support of world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe after she was linked to doping by a British Parliament inquiry into blood doping on Tuesday (September 8).
The Briton released a statement following the session of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in London, in which she “categorically denied” links to doping after panel chair Jesse Norman had mentioned "British athletes" and "London Marathon" winners.
Coe, appointed as the new IAAF President last month, has come out in support of Radcliffe.
“We have got to be very clear that we do not end up on some McCarthyesque witch-hunt around athletes that are doing their very best and are doing it in a clean way," he said at a Future of Rugby event here today.
“I absolutely believe Paula Radcliffe is clean.
“If there is a perception that the testing system is not as independent as it should be that is something we need to address.
“Clearly there is a balance.
"But I do think an individual athlete has the right not to put into the public domain stuff that is personal to them.
"The risk is that we end up with a series of allegations that have not been substantiated, based on one or two readings.
“I’ve always been very clear that you can’t extrapolate in that way.
"That’s been my biggest bugbear.
"I’ve never criticised the right of any media group to kick the tyres.
"They should be challenging me, they should be challenging federations.
"But it is the way that this has been done that has been very damaging to the athletes.”
The allegations surrounding Radcliffe are the latest development following German television station ARD and British newspaper The Sunday Times claiming the IAAF failed to follow-up test results from as many as 800 athletes despite suspicions that blood doping had occurred.
They claim a third of medals in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships over the period from 2001 until 2012 were reportedly won by athletes who submitted such samples.
In her statement Radcliffe claimed all three samples, which have led to her name being on their database of names given to ARD and The Sunday Times, were taken after periods of altitude training and two, including the highest, were taken immediately after she had raced and states the IAAF followed up and cleared the test results in question.
Earlier today Sky News claimed to have “seen” the “off-scores” in question, adding that the blood values of Radcliffe in the three tests were 114.86, 109.86 and 109.3.
They claimed two of the figures fall below the cut-off for altitude training.
Radcliffe claimed the 114.86 reading would now be invalid due to the sample having been collected immediately after World Half Marathon Championships in 29C heat in Vilamoura, Portugal.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) now considered any samples taken within two hours of competition as invalid because exertion can affect blood values.
Coe is expected to be called upon to speak at a future hearing in this British Parliament on doping.
He confirmed he would attend if he was asked.
September 2015: Radcliffe claims blood test results show she is clean
September 2015: IAAF President Coe set to be called to speak at British Parliamentary Committee hearing on doping
September 2015: Mike Rowbottom: Paula Radcliffe - a clean athlete in a muddy world
September 2015: Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe issues statement "categorically denying" any link to doping
September 2015: IAAF to face new challenge as British Parliament holds inquiry into blood doping in athletics