Jessica Ennis-Hill has expressed her delight at the news that she is to become a triple world heptathlon champion after the Russian Tatyana Chernova was finally stripped of her 2011 title.
Ennis-Hill won gold medals in Berlin in 2009 and Beijing in 2015, but could only finish second in Daegu behind Chernova – who was taking banned steroids at the time. On Tuesday night 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!”
Chernova, who beat Ennis-Hill by 129 points in 2011, was given a two-year ban in January 2015 by the Russian anti-doping agency after a retesting of her sample from the 2009 world championships found a prohibited anabolic steroid.
However, while Chernova’s results from 15 August 2009 to 14 August 2011 were annulled, Ennis-Hill was kept waiting to be upgraded to gold because the 2011 world championships started a fortnight later, on 28 August, and were thus not covered by the annulment.
Ennis-Hill and British Athletics had thought that an appeal to the IAAF had fallen on deaf ears, and the 30-year-old’s frustration was evident whenever she spoke out about this issue. But following the Russian doping scandal, athletics’ governing body went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport – which finally ruled that all of Chernova’s results between 15 August 2011 and 22 July 2013 are to be annulled. That means the Russian loses her gold from Daegu and bronze from the 2012 London Olympics, when she finished behind Ennis-Hill.
Her coach Toni Minichiello told the Guardian he was delighted at the news. “I’m chuffed to bits,” he added. “We have always known that Jess was the 2011 world champion, so it is nice to be able to finally be able to say it in public. It just adds credence to my belief that she is the best female athlete Britain has ever produced. She goes down as a three-time world champion, an Olympic gold and silver medallist, and a fantastic, fantastic athlete.”
The court of arbitration for sport on Tuesday also handed Chernova a ban of three years, eight months, for a separate blood doping violation. Russian middle-distance runners Ekaterina Sharmina and Kristina Ugarova also received doping suspensions based on evaluation of blood samples in their biological passport profiles.
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