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IAAF president Lord Coe backs Paula Radcliffe after 'witch-hunt'

Lord Coe said he still does not believe any athlete should be forced to reveal private test results. Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images

World athletics chief Lord Coe has warned against the sport slipping into "McCarthy-esque witch hunts" over doping allegations, defending Paula Radcliffe after the marathon record holder's blood test results were revealed.

Radcliffe says the results - which were made public by Sky News - prove she is innocent of doping.

The results showed three "off-scores" were 114.86, 109.86 and 109.3 - Press Association Sport understands the figures to be correct.

Scores above 103 by a female athlete can be regarded as "suspicious" but training at altitude and tests taken immediately after a race can lead to higher results.

Radcliffe said the results had been looked at by an independent expert and she had reports clearing her.

She told Sky News: "I had to wait to get those in place but I'm very glad I have them. They can tell me you don't have three values that crossed any threshold, not when you apply the context of whether the test followed a period of altitude training or was carried out at altitude.

"Not when you apply whether the two-hour rule - that it cannot be used within two hours of hard competition or hard training - is not valid. That rules out two of the tests they are referring to, and the other is not above the threshold."

But Coe, the new International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president, insists she should not have been forced into defending herself.

And Coe does not want clean athletes to be road-railed into revealing data, saying that doing so would be to behave like former American politician Joseph McCarthy who was notorious for leading witch-hunts and whose antics led to the coining of the word McArthyism.

"I don't think she should have been forced to do it," said Coe of Radcliffe. "I absolutely believe Paula Radcliffe is clean. I don't think she should have been put in that position, I really don't.

"When we started down this road a few weeks ago I was very clear that no athlete should feel under pressure to release stuff that is private to them.

"It is shared by WADA and the IAAF but it is ultimately their decision. I was very clear, and UK Athletics said exactly the same.

"So the judgement she's made is one made from a position she should not have been in. I don't think she should have been treated the way she was.

"It's all about trust in the sport and I'm not going to shy away from that. But we've got to be very careful here, if there's a perception the testing system is not as independent as it should be that is something we'll address. And actually that's something I've been very clear about.

"We've got to be very clear here that we don't end up on McCarthy-esque witch hunts around athletes that are doing their very best and doing it in a very clean way.

"With all due respect is this the sort of information select committees should be making judgements about? I think not.

"The reason you don't just condemn an athlete on one or two readings is these are longitudinal studies. The clue is in the word longitudinal."