Anju Bobby George along with Australia's Bronwyn Thompson and Britain’s Jade Johnson have started their bid to reclaim the Olympic medals that they believe were ‘robbed’ from them by "dope cheats" at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Anju had finished sixth in the finals of the long jump event in 2014.
13 years after the Athens Games, Anju Bobby George along with two other long jumpers have begun their quest to reclaim their Olympic medals from Russian athletes Tatyana Lebedeva (gold), Irina Simagina (silver), and Tatyana Kotova (bronze). Even though the Russians passed their respective dope tests in Athens, they subsequently failed dope tests in other competitions. This, along with revelations of state-sponsored doping in Russia, has caused Anju and others to doubt the integrity of the 2004 Games tests.
All three athletes are hoping that to get support from their national Olympic bodies will help bring them justice. Anju stated that she has already secured the support of the sports ministry, the Athletics Federation of India (IAF), and the Indian Olympic Association.
"All three of us and our national associations are going to appeal our case to the IOC. We need justice. We plan to stand together and raise our voices, Those three cheats stole our glory. They have been ahead of us throughout our careers, but now we know it was through performance enhancing drugs. We also know now that what was going on in Russia was state-sponsored,” Anju told Firstpost but refused to discuss the exact plan of action the three countries had devised for fears of compromising their chances.
Anju had suspected foul-play in the activities of the accused during the 2004 Olympics itself but did not take it too seriously given that the security at the event in Athens seemed pretty tight. "I saw one of them inhaling something and the other drank some liquid from an ampoule (vial). The security at the venue was really tight, so at that time I didn't think it was possible that they could have brought any prohibited substance at the venue.”
Lebedeva managed to jump 7.07m while Simagina and Kotova jumped 7.05m to make it to the podium while Aussie Bronwyn Thompson jumped 6.96m to finish fourth. Anju meanwhile, was sixth with a best effort of 6.83m. USA's Marion Jones had finished ahead of Anju with a jump of 6.85m but was stripped of her place in December 2007 due to doping offenses.
The problem that Anju is likely to face is that the dope samples have been destroyed following the 10-year mandate from the IOC. But Anju believes that she and the rest have a case.
"We have been gathering details that support our cause for many months now. In few days, there will be a meeting of Athletics Australia, where they will hear Thompson's case," Anju explained.
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