KOCHI: The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) will support Anju Bobby George’s demand for an investigation into the long jump results of the 2004 Athens Olympics during the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) council meeting to be held two weeks later.
Anju had sought the support of the federation alleging that the that the performance of the Russian trio — Tatyana Lebedeva, Irina Meleshina and Tatyana Kotova, who were on the podium in that order — were suspicious as they had been banned later for failing dope tests.
Though the three didn’t tested positive during the competition in 2004, they were later caught for doping and Anju demanded that the Russians should be retrospectively stripped of the Athens Olympics medals like Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong.
The AFI viewed Anju’s concerns, who finished fifth in Athens, and has been in touch with the UK Athletics and Athletics Australia to formulate a joint action plan. Australian Bronwyn Thompson and Britain’s Jade Johnson had finished fourth and sixth in Athens respectively and have joined the bandwagon, raising doubts about the authenticity of the performance of the Russians.
“We are in touch with the two federations and will take up the issue with all concerned stakeholders with utmost seriousness,” said a senior AFI official.
AFI chief Adille Sumariwalla, who is also a part of the 27-member IAAF council, will take up the issue, it has been learnt. On being contacted, Adille said the Federation has been helping Tintu for quite some time and will continue to do so. Anju’s husband Bobby George, who trained her during that time, said they will take all possible measures to make sure that justice is done.
“The three Russians were always under suspicion, but it seems the WADA and the anti-doping wing of the IAAF did not take adequate actions and shied away from conducting out-of-competition tests. The three including Anju, who came behind the Russians, were always there in the top six, knocking on the podium door.”