Indian athlete Anju Bobby George has been conferred the gold medal for long jump in the World Athletics Final held in Monte Carlo in 2005, after the original winner Tatyana Kotova tested positive for the banned substance formestane.
The International Association of Athletics Federations took the decision after Kotova’s sample collected at the 2005 World Championship in Helsinki was re-tested.
The Indian, who initially finished second with silver, will now receive a certificate confirming the upgradation to gold. The disqualified Russian, on the other hand, has been suspended until 2015.
Justice for Anju, finally
The 36-year old was ecstatic, and expressed her vindication that justice had finally been done.
“At last it has come. I have been waiting for it for nine years. It really feels like justice,” she said.
“For those three years — 2003, 04 and 05, I was one of the best in the world. I knew everyone ahead of me was doing it (doping), but I was helpless because I couldn’t prove it. I always had my doubts about Kotova,” Anju added.
Anju is immensely proud of her achievement, and said she deserved to be called World Champion.
“But I am proud that I stood up. Only the top eight athletes in the world can participate in this event. Looking at the line-up I competed against I can say that I am like the world champion,” she declared.
With a gold medal to back her claim, who can argue with that?
Of course, this is not the only result to have changed for the better for Anju; her fifth place finish at the 2005 Helsinki World Championships has also been bumped up to fourth.
Olympics medal in the offing too?
Anju had originally finished sixth in Athens, but that was enhanced to fifth position in 2007 when US athlete Marion Jones tested positive for a banned substance. Meanwhile, Irina Simagina, who won the silver medal in Athens, was suspended in 2012 by the Russian athletics association for a drug-related offence. Further, the bronze medallist in Athens was none other than Tatyana Kotova. So in the event that both Simagina and Kotova are disqualified, Anju would be entitled to an Olympics bronze medal.
So far, no evidence has been unearthed to prove that Simagina and Kotova used any banned substance during the Athens Olympics. But with the advancements in drug testing technology, frozen urine samples of athletes are re-tested periodically to detect any presence of steroids.
“I am still hopeful about Athens (Olympics). They could change that result too,” Anju finished.
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