Tallent should learn fate of London Olympic gold medal

22 March 2016

ATHLETICS: Australian race walker Jared Tallent could learn this week if his silver medal at the London Olympic Games will be elevated to gold.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is expected to publish their decision on the doping suspensions of six Russian athletes in the next few days.

Tallent finished the 50km walk at the London Olympic Games behind Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin, who was found guilty of doping in early 2015.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) enforced a ban that was back-dated until 15 October 2012, which meant Kirdyapkin could keep his gold medal and potentially defend his title at Rio 2016.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) appealed the sanctions handed out by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to CAS, describing them as "selective". Five race-walkers are included in the group, as well as four Olympic champions.

In November 2015 the World Anti-Doping Agency’s independent commission reported allegations of widespread corruption and collusion by Russian officials, including state security services, to cover up results of drug tests, destroy samples and intimidate laboratory staff.

The WADA report also identified “systematic failures” at the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body.

Tallent commented strongly after the report was released in November.

“The allegations are absolutely shocking to find out the man who beat me in London, Sergey Kirdyapkin, probably should have been banned as early as 2011 but the IAAF held off from banning him until after the Olympic Games in London,” he said.

“So, effectively letting him race even though they knew he was a dope cheat and then he went on and beat me for the gold medal. It’s pretty devastating. It makes you very angry just to know that your international federation, the sporting body that should be protecting clean athletes, was looking after the dope cheats.”

He has spoken how there was a speculation and rumours about Kirdyapkin and the Russian walkers before the Games, and they being cheated for the gold medal has driven him every day since London.

Athletics Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee have been supportive of Tallent’s demands for the gold medal to be retrospectively awarded to him.

Tallent won silver (50km) and bronze (20km) at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and then silver again in the 50km in 2012.

He has been selected to race the 50km walk at Rio 2016 and is likely to be nominated to the AOC for the 20km also. His sister Rachel will contest the 20km walk on her Olympic debut.

Russia is currently serving an IAAF ban due to allegations of widespread state-supported drug use made by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission.

Russian athletes were not allowed to compete at the World Indoor Championships last week and that could also be the case for the Rio Olympic Games which open on 5 August.

Australia finished the London 2012 Olympic Games with 7 gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze. 

AOC

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