Jessica Ennis-Hill will finally get her hands on the 2011 world championships gold medal originally denied her by the Russian drugs cheat Tatyana Chernova at a special ceremony at next month’s world championships in London. The news was confirmed when Chernova lost her appeal against a retrospective ban for taking steroids at the court of arbitration for sport. It means Ennis-Hill becomes a three-times world heptathlon champion, to go along with her Olympic gold and silver medals.
The Guardian has also learned that the number of medallists who will be re-allocated medals at London 2017 will be significantly increased to include non-British athletes, with discussions taking place about when to hold the special ceremonies. The original plan had been to put them all on the morning of 11 August but they may now run over several days.
When the news was broken to her coach Toni Minichiello, he replied: “Alle-bloody-luia. It’s excellent news – I thought the fillibustering would go on for ever. It just adds credence to my belief that she is the best female athlete Britain has ever produced.”
Minichiello also welcomed the news that international athletes, too, cheated out of medals by drugs cheats would be rewarded. “That’s a fitting decision – because this is not just a British result but an international one. Maybe they should cancel one day of the athletics devote it to all the medal ceremonies they will need?”
Ennis-Hill won gold medals in Berlin in 2009 and Beijing in 2015 but could finish only second in Daegu in 2011, 129 points behind Chernova. Last year, before the Russian’s appeal to CAS, Ennis-Hill posted a picture of the Russian beating her on Instagram in 2011 before writing:
“This image was forever imprinted on my mind! However much it drove me on for what I was about to achieve in my first Olympics in London in my heart I just knew it was wrong. So happy to be finally receiving my gold medal. Triple world champion. WOW!”