Tancred feels for stars whose record-breaking feats could be wiped out

Paula Radcliffe

Paula Radcliffe - Credit: AP

Suffolk Commonwealth Games legend Bill Tancred MBE insists action must be taken to clean up athletics, but sympathises with the likes of Paula Radcliffe and Jonathan Edwards, who could lose their world records.

A “revolutionary” new proposal from European Athletics has suggested that all world records prior to 2005 could be re-written, in light of the sport’s doping scandal – Svein Arne Hansen, the European Athletics president, saying world records “are meaningless if people don’t really believe them”.

Such a move could punish clean athletes like Radcliffe and Edwards, who currently hold the records in the marathon and triple jump respectively, the former labelling the proposals “heavy-handed” and “cowardly”.

Former discus thrower Tancred, raised and currently living in Felixstowe, who won Commonwealth bronze and silver medals in the 1970s, said: “It’s a dilemma isn’t it?

“You have the likes of Paula Radcliffe who ran a fantastic world record and Jonathan Edwards in the triple jump.

“People wanting to win clean are being punished – it seems unfair – but you can’t please everyone. Something must be done.”

More than one-hundred Olympic athletes who competed at the 2008 and 2012 Games have been sanctioned for doping after the International Olympic Committee embarked on a programme of retesting old samples.

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“There are records in which people in the sport, the media and the public do not have complete confidence,” said taskforce chair Pierce O’Callaghan.

Mr Tancred added: “How do you know that future athletes will stick to the guidelines and will not take substances that can’t be detected, with things becoming so medically advanced?

“We saw Russia use state-controlled doping and will all nations abide by the rules that are set?

“When I competed, I knew the Eastern Block countries were using performance-enhancing drugs, regardless of the possible health issues.

“The issue of drugs in sport is putting people off.

I applaud the work being done, but there are lot of people who’ve worked very hard to suddenly lose their world record.”

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