Report: New IAAF rule proposes wiping away several world records

Monday May 1st, 2017

A new rule proposed by the International Association of Athletics Federation could result in Paula Radcliffe and Hicham El Guerrouj being stripped of their respective world records in track and field, according to Sean Ingle of The Guardian.

A new rule would require athletes that have broken major world records to have been tested multiple times (about six times) in the lead up to their record-setting performance. The testing sample from after the record would also still need to be available for re-testing. The IAAF only started storing blood and urine samples in 2005, so any record set before that could be impacted. The records would also have to be set at competitions on a list of approved international events.

Radcliffe ran 2:15:25 for the women's world record at the 2003 London Marathon. Hicham El Guerrouj holds the 1,500 meter world record of 3:26.00. Other records that would be wiped away include Florence Griffith-Joyner's 100 meter and 200 meter world records of 10.49 and 21.34, which no one has come close to in recent years.

Usain Bolt's world records in the sprints would be safe since he set them in 2008 and 2009.

The proposal was discussed at a European Athletics council meeting over the weekend. IAAF president Seb Coe was in attendance and is in favor of the proposal.

“What we are proposing is revolutionary, not just because most world and European records will have to be replaced, but because we want to change the concept of a record and raise the standards for recognition a point where everyone can be confident that everything is fair and above board,” European athletics president Svein Arne Hansen said.

The IAAF could approve the proposal in July and implement it within the next 12 months.

Paula Radcliffe shared her thoughts on Twitter with a statement:

"1. I worked extremely hard for my PBs and they will always be valid to me. I know they were set through hard work and best effort and abiding by all the rules and am proud of them.

2. Governing bodies have a duty to protect every clean athlete. We had to compete against cheats, they couldn't provide us a level playing field, we lost out on medals, moments and earnings due to cheats, saw our sport dragged through the mud due to cheats and now, thanks to those who chose to cheat we potentially lose our World and Area records.

3. Although we are moving forward I don't believe we are yet at the point where we have a testing procedure capable of catching every cheat out there, so why reset at this point? Do we really believe a record set in 2015 is totally clean and one in 1995 is not?

4. I am hurt and do feel this damages my reputation and dignity. It is a heavy handed way to wipe out some really suspicious records in a cowardly way by simply sweeping all aside instead of having the guts to take the legal plunge and wipe any record that would be found in a court of law to have been illegally assisted.

5. It is confusing to the public at a time when athletics is already struggling to market itself. How do they explain how stadium, club and national records are better than the Area and World marks or will they force all those to be wiped too?"

- Chris Chavez

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