Athletics: Kenya's Jelimo finally gets London 2012 800m bronze, Semenya is champ with Savinova disqualified

Pamela Jelimo (above) was among three athletes who received an upgrade after race winner Mariya Savinova was stripped of the gold for doping. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

NAIROBI – Beijing 2008 Olympic women’s 800m champion Pamela Jelimo of Kenya received her bronze from the London 2012 Games at a special ceremony here last Wednesday, 10 years after the conclusion of the Summer Games in the British capital.

The ceremony was presided over by International Olympic Committee members Kipchoge Keino and Paul Tergat, themselves Kenyan distance-running legends.

Jelimo was among three athletes who received an upgrade of their performance from the London Games after race winner Mariya Savinova from Russia was stripped of the gold for doping.

The 33-year-old received her bronze surrounded by her family at the National Museum in Nairobi.

In London, Jelimo ran 1min 57.59sec to initially finish fourth in the defence of the title she won in China, where she ran an African-record 1:54.01.

“My children can now watch me receive the bronze medal, 10 years later. This is like a dream; I initially didn’t believe it when I heard the good news. It’s truly a dream of every athlete to win a medal in the Olympics and I’m honoured to have my parents accompany me and share this joy,” Jelimo told reporters.

She added that she would sleep with her medal as she exalted those actively running to shun using prohibited substances or falling foul of whereabouts rules.

South Africa’s Caster Semenya and another Russian, Ekaterina Poistogova, were upgraded to gold and silver with another Kenyan, Beijing 2008 silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei, moving up to eighth and was presented with a certificate from the IOC.

Savinova’s disqualification back in 2017 meant Semenya became a two-time Olympic champion and three-time world champion over the two-lap race.

Poistogova was moved up to silver despite being one of five Russian athletes the World Anti-Doping Agency recommended in 2015 be suspended for life for doping during the London Games.

But the Court of Arbitration for Sport refused to backdate disqualification as far back as 2012, and disqualified her from 2015.

Two-time world champion Hellen Obiri, who won 5,000m silver at Rio 2016 and repeated the result at Tokyo 2020, was also handed a certificate from London after being moved up to eighth in the women’s 5,000m final.

“I remember 2012 since it was my first Olympics, my expectations were high honestly and, however, I didn’t come close to the medal bracket. I’m humbled to receive the upgrade and this is a motivation to fellow athletes to run clean,” the 32-year-old remarked.

The ceremony came against a backdrop of Kenya being spared an international ban by World Athletics the previous week due to the spike in doping cases.

So far this year, 25 athletes have been sanctioned for anti-doping offences, with the number expected to be higher since cases are still under review by the Athletics Integrity Unit and the local Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya. XINHUA

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