New Delhi: Long jumper Anju Bobby George on Tuesday expressed happiness after her second place finish at the 2005 Monaco World Athletics Final was upgraded to a gold medal, saying the frustrating time she endured for last nine years was worth the wait.
Anju became the first Indian track and field athlete to win a gold medal in a major world event after international governing body IAAF upgraded her second place finish at the 2005 Monaco World Athletics Final to the top spot, following a dope violation by a Russian competitor Tatyana Kotova.
Anju Bobby George, 36, a mother of two, who last competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics said, “This was long overdue. I always knew I was competing with people who looked ‘supernatural’ to me. Most of us knew that many of our rivals were not clean. In fact, Britain’s long jump ace Jade Johnson once commented that I should have won the gold and she the silver at the Athens Olympic Games. I’m happy and relieved to have got what I always deserved.”
The Athletics Federation of India is likely to receive an official communication from the world body on Tuesday.
"I have been told by the AFI that I will get the gold in the Monaco World Athletics Finals. I am really happy and the wait was worth it," she told PTI.
"I had always some doubt about some of the top Russian women long jumpers of my time and I knew that they could have been in dope," she said.
Russian Tatyana Kotova was found last year to have been caught for doping after her samples collected during the 2005 World Athletics Championships in Helsinki was found to contain traces of banned substance.
The IAAF had re-analysed samples of the 2005 World Athletics Championships apparently in line with Internationally Olympic Committee's decision to retest eight-year old samples, dating back to 2004 Athens Olympics in order to deter dope cheats.
The 2005 Monaco World Athletics Finals (September 9-10), competed by top eight athletes of that time, was held a few weeks after the 2005 World Athletics Championships (August 6-14) in Helsinki, and hence Kotova's result in the latter event has now been deleted from the record books.
The Athletics Federation of India is yet to receive the official communication from the IAAF though the world body's website has updated the results of the 2005 World Athletics Final in Monaco with Anju is now being listed as the gold medal winner with an effort of 6.75m.
AFI President Adille Sumariwala said that he is expecting the official communication from the IAAF shortly.
"The IAAF website has updated Anju as the gold winner. We are yet to be officially communicated by the IAAF. I am waiting for the official documents in a day or two," he said.
"Anju is now the only Indian track and field athlete to have won a gold medal in a world meet," he added.
Anju, whose fifth place finish in the 2005 Helsinki World Championships was also upgraded to fourth following disqualification of Kotova (who finished second), said that she is now expecting a similar happening in the 2004 Athens Olympics results.
Three Russians Tatyana Lebedeva, Irina Simagina and Kotova had finished on the podium while ustralia's Bronwyn Thompson was fourth ahead of Anju.
"Simagina was tested positive in a dope test in 2006 and was later handed suspension by Russian Federation. I am hoping that if a re-testing of their samples are done, I have a chance to win a medal from the Athens Olympics," she said.
IAAF Deputy General Secretary as well as Communications Director Nick Davies confirmed that Anju will get the gold medal in the 2005 Monaco World Athletics Final.
"Yes, on behalf of IAAF, I can confirm that Bobby George was upgraded to the 1st place at the WAF in Monaco in 2005. This is confirmed in the athlete's biography," he said in an e-mail reply.
"There is no formal communication to the relevant Member Federation after a re-ranking resulting from an athlete's DQ (disqualification)," he said....