There is a cruel irony in the fact that an investigation alleging widespread doping abuse in athletics, prompted at least in part by laudable motives, should have turned into a story about an athlete who is innocent of any such charge.

Paula Radcliffe is a clean athlete. Having followed her and written about her throughout the bulk of her long and increasingly illustrious career, that is what I have always believed, and nothing I have seen or heard since the investigations publicised in recent weeks by ARD TVand the Sunday Times has convinced me to doubt it.

Paula Radcliffe en route to her final London Marathon as an elite athlete in April this year ©Getty Images
Paula Radcliffe during her final London Marathon as an elite athlete in April this year ©Getty Images

The most eloquent testimony in her defence is her own statement - pained, painstaking - in which she addresses the detail of the smeary mess of allegation against her and refutes it convincingly.

As she says in her statement: "WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) themselves have again investigated following the recent articles. I understand the team from WADA found nothing and I fully expect that once the Independent Committee publish their report I will again be found to have no case to answer."

As I understand it, while rumours that the "household name" implicated by the Sunday Times was Paula Radcliffe were circulating, the WADA team were asked to put one analysis to the top of their list, and have clearly done so.

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