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IAAF ratifies Anju’s gold

New Delhi: Anju Bobby George, on Tuesday, officially became the winner of the long jump gold medal in the 2005 World Athletics finals in Monte Carlo following a notification issued by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).

She is the first Indian to win a gold in this championship.

The ratification follows the disqualification of Russia’s Tatyana Kotova after re-testing of her dope sample collected during the 2005 World championship in Helsinki. Anju’s 6.75m leap had landed her with the silver in Monte Carlo, behind the Russian girl’s 6.83m effort.

While Kotova has been slapped with a suspension till January 2015 for testing positive for formestane, Anju has been declared the winner.

“It’s a great privilege for Indian athletics and I am humbled with the gold medal. As an Indian athlete, I am indebted to my fans, coaches and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for all their support,” said Anju.

“For those three years — 2003, 2004 an 2005 — I was one of the best in the world. Some suspected that several athletes in my event were on dope. But I was helpless as I had no evidence to prove it. Lots of people had doubts about Kotova, too,” Anju said.

“But I am proud that I stood up. Only the top-eight athletes in the world can participate in that event. Looking at the strong line-up I had competed, one can say I was like the world champion,” added Anju.

Anju had previously won a bronze in the 2003 World Championship, gold in the Asian Games and Asian Championship and bronze in the Commonwealth Games.

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said it was a historic day for Indian athletics. “We are extremely proud that Anju has been awarded the gold medal in the prestigious World Athletics final. This is a historic occasion for the entire country and the Indian athletics fraternity,” said Sumariwalla, a former sprint national champion.