The British men’s 4x400m relay team could also claim bronze as Russia reportedly stands to lose seven athletics medals from Beijing
Javelin thrower Goldie Sayers could be in line for an Olympic bronze medal from 2008 after silver medallist Mariya Abakumova was reported on Tuesday to be among 14 Russian athletes to have tested positive from the Beijing Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week announced that up to 31 athletes across six sports and 12 National Olympic Committees face bans after testing positive from a batch of 454 reanalysed samples as it made a last-ditch move to prevent drugs cheats competing in Rio.
The British men’s 4x400m team of Andrew Steele, Robert Tobin, Michael Bingham and Martyn Rooney are also possibly in line for an upgrade to the podium after Denis Alekseyev, who ran the final leg to win bronze for Russia, was also among those reported to have doped by Russian news agency TASS.
“I don’t want to get caught up in jumping the gun too much, but should this be the case I’m thrilled,” Steele told AW.
“I’d be very, very happy to be able to call myself an Olympic medallist. Similarly I’d be very upset to have missed out on being able to call myself that for the last eight years.”
TASS earlier reported that 14 of the 31 positive tests were Russian athletes, the majority from track and field, and that these included 2012 Olympic high jump champion and 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Anna Chicherova.
If confirmed, the reports would decimate Russia’s medal tally from the 2008 Olympics. Russia finished Beijing 2008 with 18 medals across track and field – six gold, five silver, seven bronze – second in the athletics to the US, but could face losing seven of those.
Anastasiya Kapachinskaya and Tatyana Firova, silver medallists in the 4x400m, are also named, as is 50km walk bronze medallist and second fastest of all time Denis Nizhegorodov, 4x100m relay gold medallist Yuliya Chermoshanskaya and steeplechase bronze medallist Yekaterina Volkova.
Shot putter Ivan Yushkov, decathlete Alexander Pogorelov and 10,000m runner Inga Abitova are also named by the report.
When announcing the provisional results of the retests, the IOC also confirmed that 250 samples from the 2012 Olympics in London were to be retested.
So far 50km walking champion Sergey Kirdyapkin, 20km walk silver medallist Olga Kaniskina and 3000m steeplechase champion Yuliya Zaripova have been disqualified after the Court of Arbitration for Sport in March ruled against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s “selective” suspension of the athletes
The IOC declined to offer any comment.