The World Olympians Association (WOA) has criticized proposals to reset world records, claiming the will punish innocent athletes.
Under the proposals announced on Monday (May 1) by the European Athletics’ Records Credibility Project Team, led by Pierce O’Callaghan, world records set by 2005 could be erased.
“WOA is committed to ensuring that all athletes are treated as innocent until proven otherwise,” said its President Joël Bouzou.
“As a result, we must question the recommendations made by European Athletics to reset any world or European record that was held by an athlete who has not met their proposed criteria.
“The criteria recommended by European Athletics have a very wide reach, and seem likely to affect many clean athletes, inevitably leading to innocent record holders being stripped of their achievements.”
Several former athletes who would be affected by the proposals have come out in opposition against the plan.
These include Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, who would lose her marathon world record of 2:15:25, set in 2003.
Among others affected would be Bulgaria’s Stefka Kostadinova, whose women’s high jump record of 2.09 meters was set in 1987, and the United States Mike Powell, whose long jump mark of 8.95m dates back to 1991.
“WOA affirms that strong punishment must be enacted on anyone engaged in doping activities, and is universally committed to stamping doping out of sport, but is also driven to protect clean athletes,” said Bouzou.
“WOA feels that these recommendations are unfair to clean athletes and do nothing to strengthen the fight against doping.”
WOA has proposed a three point plan in the fight against cheating in sport through doping.
This includes an anti-doping system totally independent of Federations, Governments and event organizers, increased funding for anti-doping to stay ahead of the cheats and a permanent mechanism to ensure clean athletes can compete even if their sport, Government or National Olympic Committee is sanctioned.
By Duncan Mackay
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.