India’s most decorated field athlete Anju Bobby George could find Olympic silver medal around her neck if she succeeds in her efforts to launch an investigation into the results of 2004 Athens Olympics Long Jump event.
Anju, India’s only athlete to win a medal at the World Track and Field Championships, along with 2 other athletes from Australia and Britain have called for a probe into the event they contested 13 years ago, where they believe they were cheated out of Olympic medals.
At the Athens Olympics, Anju had finished 5th in the Finals with a jump of 6.83m which still stands as National Record in Women’s Long Jump. At 4th was Australia’s Bronwyn Thompson and behind Anju at 6th was Britain’s Jade Johnson.
All three Russians who won medals in the event – Tatyana Lebedeva, Irina Meleshina and Tatyana Kotova – have since failed drugs tests, prompting Anju, Thompson and Johnson to approach their respective national sports federations to support their cases. According to Bobby George, himself a former sportsman and coach, the trio intends on approaching the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“After the disqualification of Kotova in 2013, we were expecting something to come out, but nothing happened. All of these Russians came to form in the Athens Olympics, especially Irina Meleshina who was nowhere in the scene in the lead-up but suddenly she started jumping over 7 meters and went up to 7.22 meters, which was an unbelievable performance. But after that she went nowhere,” said Bobby George, Anju’s husband. “Tatyana Lebedeva had a magnificent jump of 7.33m in 2004, but one month after the Olympics her performances went down drastically. Then it spiked again at the Super Track and Field Meet in Yokohama in 2007 where she beat Kotova.”
As per the rules, samples of athletes must be preserved for ten years. Despite the samples of the three Russians having been destroyed, Bobby is confident of finding support as he pushes the cause of the three athletes.