Countries found to have sanctioned doping practices should be banned from taking part at the World Championships, said world marathon record-holder Paula Radcliffe.
Radcliffe remarked everything we can do to increase the deterrent is good and where it is blatant or there is evidence that it may be institutionalized, or at the very least countries are turning a blind eye to it, you could ban that team from the World Championships for a year or two. She added that there needs to be something so member federations are not aiding and abetting doping and added she also thinks there should be jail terms for suppliers. Radcliffe went to say that there are jail terms for the suppliers of recreational drugs, so why not for sports doping.
Forcing a young athlete to cheat was similar to “physical or sexual abuse”, said Radcliffe and the British marathon runner called for those who supply drugs in the sport to be sent to jail. Radcliffe, who delivered a hard-hitting anti-doping presentation to the International Association of Athletics Federations at its annual Congress, remarked she was shocked to learn of the news that the Turkish athletics federation had handed out two-year bans to 40 of its athletes within a week. Of the 40 banned, nine were teenagers, including a female hammer thrower as young as 16. Radcliffe said she would say that is abuse and added some of those athletes are 16 or 17 and this is steroids. The marathon world-record holder remarked she thinks there needs to be some sort of sanction imposed on that country and something done about protecting the young athletes in that country because she doesn't believe there’s a whole lot of choice.
A vocal anti-drugs campaigner, Radcliffe believes countries who fail in their anti-doping responsibilities should face automatic sanctions and said she absolutely believes there should be some way of sanctioning the federations, on some level. She went on to remark that coaches and managers who put pressure on athletes to use performance enhancing drugs also deserved to be banned and the entourage should be subject to sanctions, too. Radcliffe, who is in Moscow as an ambassador for the International Association of Athletics Federations and as a BBC television commentator, remarked she thinks it should be lifetime bans – at the very least four-year bans. She also remarked that they need to look at federal sanctions or even jail time to increase the severity of the sanction as sanctions definitely need to be given to everyone, not just the athlete who has cheated but also the supplier and team as well – basically, everyone involved in the process.
The 39-year-old said she doesn’t have a vote but she wouldn’t be voting for Turkey. Radcliffe said she would not vote for Istanbul to host the 2020 Olympics on those grounds even though the Turkish Athletics Federation has announced the suspension of 31 athletes for two years over doping offences. Radcliffe also said she would also not vote for Madrid either until they release the Operation Puerto bags and remarked they should be cleaning the house before they can think about hosting the Olympics because it’s a huge honor and there should be some way of sanctioning federations.
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