Anju Bobby George told TNM that she is hopeful of winning an Olympic medal after the Russian doping scandal.

After 14 years Anju Bobby George stakes claim for 2004 Athens Olympic medal
news Sport Friday, March 02, 2018 - 12:33

Fourteen years after Anju Bobby George finished 6th in the long jump event of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the Indian long jumper has staked her claim for a medal. But Anju isn’t the only to do so, two other long jumpers from the UK and Australia, who failed to make the podium at the 2004 Athens Olympics, have also staked claim for the medals they missed out on. This as the three medal winners from Russia – Tatyana Lebedeva, Irina Simagina and Tatyana Kotova – have since been charged with doping.

In February, the Athletics Federation of India and its counterparts in the UK and Australia sent a letter the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)’s ethics committee -Athletics Integrity Unit- calling for an investigation into the long jump event.

Anju is hoping to become the first Indian to win an Olympic medal at the field event. Speaking to TNM, Anju says, “Yes. I am hopeful of winning a medal”.

“All three countries’ athletics federations wrote to the IAAF’s ethics committee regarding the 2004 Olympics long jump event. It is well known that Russia was involved in state-sponsored doping and they were doing it for many years,” Anju says.

She also pointed out that long jump was the only event in which all three medal winners were from Russia.

“WADA actually wanted the International Olympic Committee to retest the samples collected at the 2004 Olympics as there has already been a delay. They have retested a few samples and many have been prosecuted. But they have not retested samples of the winners of the long jump event. We are questioning why they haven’t done this when all three medal winners in the event were Russians,” she said.

In 2016, a report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) revealed systematic state-sponsored doping by Russia during and before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

So far only Marion Jones of the USA, who finished fourth in Athens, has been stripped of her position for an alleged doping offence. This in turn elevated Anju to the fifth spot behind Australia’s Bronwyn Thompson.

In the 2005 World Athletics Final, Anju was elevated to the first position and awarded the gold medal after Russia’s Tatyana Kotova was stripped of her medal in 2013. This after Tatyana Kotova’s 2005 sample was retested and came out positive.  

The other medal winners from the 2004 Athens Olympics - Tatyana Lebedeva and Irina Simagina have also similarly faced repercussions after testing of samples revealed the presence of a steroid.

Lebedeva, who won the gold medal in Athens was stripped of her silver medals in the long jump and triple jump events at the 2008 Beijing Games, while Simagina who tested positive in 2012 was barred from the London Olympic Games in the same year.

An investigation into the samples of the three Russian medal winners from the 2004 Olympic Games could, as a result, see Anju elevated to a medal-winning position in the long jump event. It would make Anju the first ever Indian medalist in the event.


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