Radcliffe will have chance to prove her fitness for Beijing

Paula Radcliffe will have to prove her fitness to British selectors as she seeks to win a place in the marathon squad for the Olympics in Beijing.

The 34-year-old world record holder is eager to atone for the disappointment of dropping out four years ago. Despite being on crutches because of a hip injury, she was named alongside Mara Yamauchi and Liz Yelling earlier this week. But after another MRI scan on Wednesday, she discovered the hip problem had been diagnosed as a much more serious stress fracture of her left femur.

Now Radcliffe is returning to her high-altitude training base at Font Romeau in the Pyrenees as she seeks to prove the medical experts wrong.

"I'm not a medic nor am I an athlete so I don't know who's right," said Niels de Vos, UK Athletics chief executive. "Clearly it's a hell of a break for her, but she still remains very confident she will be able to compete.

"If she can prove her fitness, it will be another astonishing chapter in her story. Fingers crossed, is all I can really say on that."

De Vos stressed that athletes nursing injuries who are selected for the Olympics must undergo fitness tests.

"Clearly she's not going to run a marathon to prove herself fit, and I don't know the mechanics of how she can do that," he said. "That's for the selectors and the medics (to decide)."

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