Athletics: Radcliffe signs up for improved medical support

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The Independent Online

Paula Radcliffe is included for the first time in UK Athletics' World Class Podium list which enables the majority of athletes to receive National Lottery funding and other important services. Radcliffe is unlikely to receive the top-tier backing of £23,930, as her earnings clearly exceed UK Sport's means-tested ceiling of £56,220. However, having signed an agreement with UKA, she will be eligible for other free benefits such as official training camps and medical support.

The 33-year-old world record holder has already confirmed her intention to join other British distance runners next spring at warm-weather altitude camps in South Africa after her thrilling win in Sunday's ING New York City Marathon.

Radcliffe said attempting to organise her own programme before the 2004 Olympic Games had not been the right decision. Instead of joining the British squad in Cyprus she trained in Spain, where she picked up an injury which resulted in her dropping out in Athens. Radcliffe said: "If I was not injured then everything would have been fine. But I needed better medical access."

Radcliffe was among 43 athletes listed in the top tier when UKA announced a total of 234 who will receive support, but Christine Ohuruogu was not included. Ohuruogu saw her grant withdrawn after missing three out-of-competition tests and receiving a one-year ban for the anti-doping offence in 2005.

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