Belarus’ disqualification, following that of Russia, could lift Britain’s 4x400m relay team into the bronze medal position

Britain’s female 4x400m team from the Beijing 2008 Olympics may be in line to receive bronze medals after the Belarusian team was disqualified by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

A British quartet of Christine Ohuruogu, Nicola Sanders, Marilyn Okoro and Kelly Sotherton originally finished fifth.

The USA ran home with gold and Jamaica with bronze, though disqualifications to the Russian team, who finished second, and now fourth-placed Belarus after 400m runner Sviatlana Usovich was among five more athletes to have been caught doping in IOC sample retests, could see the Brits upgraded into third position.

Ohuruogu is already a gold medallist from Beijing having followed up her 2007 World Championships 400m gold with an Olympic title, and a relay bronze would add a fourth medal to her Olympic collection after an individual silver from London 2012 and a relay bronze from Rio this year.

The women are set to follow in the footsteps of the British men’s relay squad who could be upgraded to bronze after Russia’s bronze medal-winning team were also disqualified after Denis Alexeev was disqualified from the Games for testing positive.

With potential bronze medals to both 4x400m squads as well as javelin thrower Goldie Sayers, who came fourth in a competition which has since seen Russia’s Maria Abakumova disqualified, the total British medals would rise to seven.

The performance director of UK Athletics at the time, Dave Collins, was sacked in the aftermath of the Games with Britain having come away from China with just four medals – one shy of the target set by UK Sport.

Sotherton, who also won heptathlon bronze at the 2004 Olympics, tweeted: “I’ve just learnt I could be a double Olympic medallist. I’m happy, absolutely f****** fuming and sad.”

Ohuruogu wrote on Twitter: “Brilliant news girls, we all ran our hearts out in that final. It’s 8yrs late, but well deserved @nic400 @KellySotherton @Mokoro4.”