British athletics legend Paula Radcliffe has declared that the war on doping “is not won” and called for sterner action to be imposed immediately on countries where alleged systemic doping of athletes is still occurring.
“I don’t think it’s any secret of the levels of doping that have been uncovered in the likes of Ukraine, Belarus, Turkey, Morocco, East Africa,” said Radcliffe, who is in the UAE for the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday.
“The levels of violations are starting to come through, but it wasn’t shown to be systemic as it was, and as state controlled as it was in Russia – that’s why the actions that have been taken against Russia have been like that.
“But I think if it’s above a certain number then that country has to take responsibility, take ownership of it and do something to try and help the fight and move forward and show that its not something that is tolerated in their country and it won’t be accepted and tolerated within our sport.”
The 2005 marathon world champion and gold medalist at the 2002 Commonwealth games in Manchester says that the actions of these countries and athletes have “tainted” the sport.
“It’s something that I feel has tainted a sport that I love very much” said the 44-year-old, “and I think by association the credibility of the athletes who work very hard day in day out is tainted by that minority.
“And unfortunately it’s a minority that’s too big but it is a minority and it’s something we need to do more (to stamp out). I’d like to do more to give back to protect those clean athletes to protect the sport.”
Radcliffe, who now resides in Monaco, said she felt sympathy for clean Russian athletes, who have also been banned from the upcoming Winter Games in South Korea.
“Any athlete would have sympathy for athletes in that position,” she said. “It’s very unfair that any clean athlete would be put in a situation where they’re not able to take part (in the games). Unfortunately because of the severity of the infractions that were taken part in by the Russians (that has been the result).
“But we have to underline that there are other countries that are probably getting close to that (level of doping), there are other people that elsewhere in the world that are cheating like that – they need to be punished in the same way and they need to be got after. In the same way.
“We have to underline that it won’t be accepted in our sport and we have to make the deterrents greater and that means for Russia at the moment, that there was so much evidence of the state backed system and the systemic doping system that was going on, the manipulation and the undermining of the rules of our sport, the dis-respect for the other athletes and our sport – this was the step that had to be taken.”
While the Russian doping scandal is now, finally, accepted as fact, the IOC and other bodies, including FIFA, are half-hearted at best in action. Sport is broken, as is anti-doping. And you should have zero confidence it will change.— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) January 23, 2018
Radcliffe called for greater financial sanctions on countries found to be cheating.
“As I say there are other countries that need to have the same sanctions imposed and I’d like to see more of a financial sanction imposed on all cheats, so they pay back more to our sport and that goes into the anti-doping budget.
“And when federations surpass a certain number of doping (violations), or when it’s shown to be systemic as it was in Russia, then fines are paid before they are able to come back and compete.
“The battle against doping is definitely not won – it’s moving forward but I think it needs a lot greater investment.
“It needs a lot better education and the deterrents need to be bigger so that when, unfortunately, there is always going to be that incentive to dope, we have to make it harder and harder for them to get away with it and work harder to protect the majority of the athletes who are the clean athletes because they have a right to be protected and to be able to compete on a fair and level playing field.
“Not to suffer because of the action of other people around them.”
It’s been nearly two decades, but JK Rowling continues to mesmerise millions of youngsters all over the world through the magical universe of Harry Potter.
The impact of this fictional world was so profound that it had nearly every teenager waiting for their acceptance letter into the world of wizards. Although fans will never be a part of that world, they’ve got the next best thing in the non- magical or ‘Muggle’ version of the wizardly sport – Quidditch.
The sport is not only real, but is actually going pro in the United States of America. The Earth-bound version is a mixed gender contact sport with a unique blend of elements from rugby, dodgeball and tag.
A Quidditch team consists of seven athletes with one ‘seeker’, one ‘keeper’, three ‘chasers’, and two ‘beaters’.
Kyle Epsteen, 34, plays keeper for the Lost Boys Quidditch club in Los Angeles, California, and got involved with Quidditch five years ago.
Moroccan track legend Hicham El Guerrouj believes Arab governments and authorities must develop the way they’ve been managing sports in order to be able to produce Olympic champions like himself.
El Guerrouj, who has three Olympic medals – 1,500m and 5,000m gold won in Athens 2004 and 1,500m silver claimed in Sydney 2000 – and is a world record holder, is receiving the Mohammed bin Rashid Creative Sports Award in Dubai on Wednesday, in honour of his storied career in athletics.
The 43-year-old joined Tunisian four-time Olympic medallist Mohammed Gammoudi on stage on Tuesday, to take part in a talk labeled ‘Inspiring Experiences’ at the Sports Creativity Forum at Jumeirah Emirates Towers ahead of Wednesday’s awards ceremony.
“I am so happy to be here in Dubai to get the Mohammed bin Rashid Creative Sports Award. I’m honoured and humbled to be with many athletes like Mohammed Gammoudi, one of my favourites and a role model for me in the sport,” El Guerrouj told Sport360 on Tuesday.
Morocco has a long history in middle distance running, and its athletes have won a total of 19 medals in track and field at the Olympics, 18 of which were won between 1984 and 2012.