Drastic proposal from European Athletics to rewrite record books

By Teodora Agarici

A “revolutionary” new proposal from European Athletics could cancel all athletics world records set before 2005. This came as a follow up on the sport’s scandal from January where more than 1,000 Russians athletes across more than 30 sports were involved in or benefited from doping between 2011 and 2015.

The British world holder Paula Radcliffe faces losing her titles under the tough criteria set for the ratification of new marks.

“I am hurt and do feel this damages my reputation and dignity,” she told the BBC, adding that the governing bodies had “again failed clean athletes”.


According to Svein Arne Hansen, the European Athletics president, world records “are meaningless if people don’t really believe them”.

If the proposals are accepted by the IAAF, world records would be recognised if they were set at major events where the proficiency can be guaranteed in terms of measurements, technicalities and timings, the athlete has had a number of anti-doping tests in the last year – an anti-doping sample will be stored for 10 years and ready for re-testing anytime, and the athlete has never been accused of doping.

“An all-time list” or “former record holders” would be the names of the records registered before 2005 when the IAAF didn’t use to store samples. This means a lot of records won’t be recognised and the places would remain available until a new record is ratified.

In this case, the Daily Mail estimates that at least 18 of 48 men’s and 28 of 61 women’s outdoor world records can immediately be re-set.

Yet, the IAAF president, Sebastian Coe says these changes will “raise the standards for recognition to a point where everyone can be confident that everything is fair and above board”.


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