Friday 22 September 2017

IAAF hopes to clear backlog of doping cases and reallocate medals this summer

President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, (IAAF), Sebastian Coe listens during a press conference following the conclusion of an IAAF council meeting in London on April 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty Images
President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, (IAAF), Sebastian Coe listens during a press conference following the conclusion of an IAAF council meeting in London on April 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty Images

Matt Slater

World athletics governing body the IAAF still hopes to reallocate medals to athletes cheated by dopers in special ceremonies this summer but is working through a long backlog of appeals and new cases.

It emerged on Wednesday that the organisers of the World Athletics Championships in London this August can currently only plan for one such ceremony, as the British Olympic Association has received just one set of medals from the several outstanding cases involving upgrades for British athletes.

The scale of the problem for the IAAF, International Olympic Committee and other event organisers was highlighted later on Wednesday when further sanctions were given to three Russians for newly-discovered historic offences.

This should mean the British women's 4x400 metres relay teams at the 2009 and 2011 Worlds are in line for bronze medals, a development that would make Christine Ohuruogu the most decorated British athlete at world championships with eight medals.

It would also mean the women's 4x400m team have won a medal at every outdoor world championship since 2005 and another case of delayed justice for Jenny Meadows, who ran in the heats in 2009 and was so often in her career beaten to medals by athletes later proven to be cheating.

But Meadows, Ohuruogu and their team-mates may not receive those medals any time soon if the cases of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Kelly Sotherton and several others are a guide.

That is because the authorities are struggling with the number of cases from the re-analysis of stored anti-doping samples, as well as legal challenges at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In a statement, an IAAF spokesman said: "Everyone in athletics wants to see the right athletes with the right medal and we are working on a specific policy for the reallocation of medals.

"In the meantime, we want to find the right moment to give athletes the recognition they missed out on and fans of the sport a chance to be part of that celebration wherever we can and if the athlete wants us to.

"We are currently looking at the Anniversary Games, the Diamond League events and the World Championship in London this summer as opportunities to recognise and redistribute medals once official requests are received and all appeal processes and other judicial process have concluded."

So far, only British athletes have enquired about ceremonies for reallocated medals at London 2017, and, as previously mentioned, the only ceremony that can definitely go ahead is the award of bronze medals to the men's 4x400m relay team from the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Given the timescale, it appears unlikely there will be any reallocation ceremonies at the London Anniversary Games on July 9, but there are still eight more Diamond League events between now and the finale in Brussels on September 1, including the Birmingham Diamond League on August 20.

Press Association

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