Anju Bobby George, India’s top track and field athlete, could be in line for 2004 Olympic silver medal, 13 years after the Games.
According to reports, Anju (finished 5th) along with fellow long jumpers, Australia's Bronwyn Thompson (4th) and England's Jade Johnson (6th), have urged a probe into the long jump event at the Athens Olympics.
The trio has alleged that the performance of the Russians – Tatyana Lebedeva, Irina Meleshina and Tatyana Kotova – who were on the podium at Athens 2004, – were not clean as they had been banned later for failing dope tests.
And now Anju, Thompson and Johnson are claiming silver, gold and bronze respectively.
"I suspect all the three Russians did not win their medals through clean means. They failed dope tests later on and there is this widespread doping scandal in Russia. These are strong enough indications that all the three were not clean during Athens Olympics," Anju told PTI from Bangalore.
"I feel I could have been India's first Olympic medallist in athletics (by winning a medal in Athens). I have been robbed of that glory and the moment of winning an Olympic medal for the country by them (the Russians). The country has been robbed of an Olympic medal," she added.
"I have made contacts with Thompson and Johnson and we will take up the matter and represent our case together. I have been told that the Australian athletics body will have a meeting on March 31 to take up the issue and I will be meeting AFI and Sports Ministry officials this weekend in this regard," she said.
"AFI President Adille Sumariwalla, who is also a member of IAAF Council, has assured me that he will take up the issue at the IAAF meeting in London shortly. It is all about doing justice to clean athletes," she added.
Samples of the three Russians from the 2004 Athens Games might have since been destroyed since the 10-year statute of limitations has passed, but Anju said she will ask for investigations based on available evidence.
In January this year, Lebedeva was stripped of the two silver medals she won at Beijing 2008 after retests of her samples found her positive for the steroid Turinabol.
Athens silver medallist Simagina was given a two-year ban in 2012 after a positive drug test ruled her out of the London Games, and Kotova, who won bronze, was stripped of her 2005 World Championship medal after retesting of her samples in 2013 found she had also used performance-enhancing drugs.
In 2014, Anju's silver at the 2005 Monaco World Athletics Final was upgraded to gold following a dope violation by Kotova.
So far, there has been no statement from the International Olympic Committee or the Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF).
Image: Anju Bobby George
Photograph: Getty Images/Files