Paula out of Olympic marathon

Paula Radcliffe Photo: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Cheshire athlete Paula Radcliffe's Olympic hopes evaporated today as she withdrew from London 2012 marathon because of injury.

Speculation had been rife the 38-year-old world record-holder would pull out after a foot problem flared up again and today the news was confirmed.

A statement on the UK Athletics website read: "The British Olympic Association and UK Athletics announced this afternoon that marathon athlete Paula Radcliffe is being withdrawn from Team GB due to medical reasons.

"Radcliffe has been suffering with a foot problem and after a fitness test on Sunday it was concluded that she would not be able to race competitively to the best of her abilities."

Athletics team leader Charles van Commenee said: "This is obviously a disappointing day for Paula and our sport, but it was important to her that if she made the start line it would be in the best possible shape.

"It wasn't meant to be and she has taken the right decision to withdraw at this stage.

"I think it is important that we don't look at Paula's career in Olympic cycles. She is undoubtedly one of the greatest female distance runners of all times and still holds the marathon world record.

"When we look back at her career it should be in the context of what she has achieved and not what she hasn't. I wish her all the very best for her recovery."