The organisers of the World Athletics Championships in London in August are close to announcing special podium ceremonies to award Jessica Ennis-Hill and Jo Pavey the medals they missed out on owing to drug cheats, the Guardian has learned.
For Ennis-Hill that would mean receiving a heptathlon gold medal from the 2011 edition in Daegu, after she was upgraded from silver after Tatyana Chernova was stripped of her title last November.
Pavey was last month moved up from fourth to third in the 10,000 metres at the 2007 world championships in Osaka after the Turkish athlete Elvan Abeylegesse, who took silver, was found to have retrospectively failed a doping test.
A London 2017 spokesperson confirmed they had offered to host the awarding of reallocated medals on the morning of Friday 11 August but were awaiting the International Association of Athletics Federations’ final approval.
That is unlikely to take long given that the IAAF president, Sebastian Coe, confirmed he was in favour of the move, which would be the first time medals have been awarded retrospectively at the event. “It should be done at a world championships,” Lord Coe said. “These medals cannot just be sent recorded delivery. You might think I am joking but that is what has happened in the past. Athletes have had that moment ripped away, so the very least we can do is try to create the right platform to reverse that.
“We can’t just say: ‘Sorry about that, but here you go – you’ve got your medal now, take it down to your local pub.’ They should be handed over in London.”
The announcement is expected in the next few weeks but one stumbling block to Ennis-Hill getting her gold medal in London is that Chernova has appealed to the court of arbitration for sport, although few expect her to be successful.
It is unclear at this stage whether all athletes who have been awarded medals retrospectively following the retesting of samples at the 2005 and 2007 world championships will get special podium ceremonies in London. However, organisers say they are happy to find space in the timetable if the IAAF decides this is the case.
The Guardian understands some British athletes with outstanding Olympic medals, which includes the men’s and women’s 4x400m teams and the javelin thrower Goldie Sayers from the Beijing 2008 Games, have also asked to have them presented at the London 2017 world championships. However, while organisers are keen to make this happen, such a move would require additional approval from the International Olympic Committee, which appears unlikely.