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Radcliffe plays down pollution fears

Updated: Sunday, 11 May 2008 13:24

Paula Radcliffe is the world record-holder in the women's marathon
Paula Radcliffe is the world record-holder in the women's marathon

Paula Radcliffe has admitted she may wear a face mask at the Beijing Olympics this summer - but not while running.

Britain's top distance runner has so far played down the fears over pollution in the Chinese capital which have been voiced by other athletes such as Haile Gebrselassie.

Men's marathon world record-holder Gebrselassie has decided not to run that distance due to fears over his asthma but Radcliffe, also a sufferer, has no such concerns.

The 34-year-old, world record-holder in the women's marathon, told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme: ‘To be honest, I think the whole pollution thing has maybe been a little bit too focused on.

‘I think elements that need to be focused on and thought about more are the heat and humidity. They are things you can do more to prepare for as well.

‘I have competed in polluted places before - Atlanta was pretty polluted and Athens wasn't the most unpolluted city.

‘I think the biggest factor is going to be runny eyes, runny nose and sore throat after the event - and if things go according to plan in the race, I don't particularly care.

‘The biggest thing for me is to make sure my asthma is under control - which it is - and minimise the effects of pollution in the lead-up to the race.

‘We have maybe looked at using these masks to minimise pollution effects as you're just walking around but it is not something that you would think about racing in.’

Radcliffe has also backed calls for the use and supply of drugs in sport to be made a criminal offence.

Olympic legend Carl Lewis this week called on governments to co-ordinate a drive to make the use of substances banned in sport illegal.

Radcliffe said: ‘It does need governments to step in now, increase the funding into anti-doping and increasing the deterrent factor. Making it a criminal offence would do that.

‘I don't think you need to single out just the athletes. I think you need to make it a criminal offence to produce and supply performance-enhancing drugs and to put pressure on athletes to take them.’

Medal Table

Country Total
USA 45 27 30 102
China 38 28 23 89
Great Britain 29 17 19 65
Russia 25 25 32 82
South Korea 13 8 7 28
Ireland 1 1 3 5
Full Table

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