Court of Arbitration for Sport dismisses Maria Abakumova’s appeal against 2008 Olympic Games disqualification

Goldie Sayers is set to receive javelin bronze from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed Maria Abakumova’s appeal against disqualification.

It was announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2016 that Russia’s Abakumova – who claimed silver in Beijing – had tested positive following retrospective drugs testing of 2008 Olympic Games samples.

She was disqualified from the 2008 Games but filed an appeal at the CAS seeking to have the challenged decision set aside.

On Thursday the CAS confirmed that Abakumova’s appeal had been dismissed, along with the appeals of two other Russian athletes – long and triple jumper Tatyana Lebedeva, plus track cyclist Ekaterina Gnidenko.

As a result, Sayers, who originally placed fourth in Beijing, is in line to receive the javelin bronze medal, should the IOC decide to reallocate the medals. Germany’s Christina Obergfoll claimed bronze on the day but could now be set for silver.

“The appeals were referred to the same Panel of CAS arbitrators Mr Alan Sullivan QC (Australia), President, Mr Romano Subiotto QC (Belgium/UK) and Mr Philippe Sands QC (UK) who conducted a hearing in the presence of the parties on 14 and 15 May 2018 at the CAS headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland,” read a CAS statement in part.

“The CAS Panel found that the Appellants were unable to prove that the testing methods adopted by the laboratories, which led to the positive findings against each of them, were not scientifically valid in accordance with the standard required to be applied.”

Lebedeva’s disqualification from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is also confirmed and she will lose the silver medals she won in the long jump and triple jump at that event.

The latest CAS decision comes five days after Christine Ohuruogu, Kelly Sotherton, Marilyn Okoro and Nicola Sanders received their Beijing 2008 Olympic 4x400m bronze medals at the London Stadium during the Müller Anniversary Games.

The quartet originally placed fifth in the final in Beijing 10 years ago. But in 2016 a reanalysis of samples from the 2008 Games resulted in doping violations by Russia’s Tatyana Firova and Belarus anchor runner Sviatlana Usovich.

Accordingly, the Russian team was disqualified and stripped of their silver medals with Belarus, who were originally placed fourth, also disqualified. The Jamaica team was promoted from bronze to silver, with the British team securing third place.

Meanwhile, British Athletics has announced that Hatti Archer is set to receive her 2010 European Championships 3000m steeplechase silver medal at the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham meeting on August 18.


Archer (formerly Dean) finished fourth in the race in July 2010 but, following two disqualifications, she has been promoted to the silver medal position and will finally have her moment on the podium.

Marta Dominguez of Spain originally won the gold medal but was disqualified following a CAS decision in 2013 that found irregularities in her bio-passport. This moved Archer into the bronze medal position, with Lyubov Khavlamova of Russia promoted to silver. However, in August 2017 Khaylamova was then disqualified for doping offences meaning Archer is now placed second and will be awarded the silver medal.

“I am so looking forward to receiving my medal in August,” said Archer.

“I owe so much to my coach, Bud Baldaro, and it is fitting that I will receive it in his home city, Birmingham, where I also trained twice a week throughout my career.

“My husband and parents who were in Barcelona for the final back in 2010 will be there, as will many friends and, of course, my children Sophie and Joe, so it will be a very special day for me.”