Meadows’ shock at landing World Championships bronze – eight years late

Jenny Meadows already has one bronze medal from the 2009 World Championships - she will get another this week
Jenny Meadows already has one bronze medal from the 2009 World Championships - she will get another this week

Jenny Meadows will this week receive of two international medals – including one she didn’t expect.

The Wigan Harriers ace was one of the victims of the Russian state-sponsored doping scandal which rocked athletics last year.

Great Britain's Jenny Meadows (second right) finishes in third in the Women's 800 metres behind Russia's Mariya Savinova, who has since been banned - giving the Wigan athlete a belated silver medal

Great Britain's Jenny Meadows (second right) finishes in third in the Women's 800 metres behind Russia's Mariya Savinova, who has since been banned - giving the Wigan athlete a belated silver medal

She was expecting an upgrade from the bronze medal she won at the 2010 European Championships.

But as well as signing for a belated silver medal from that event later this week, she will also take delivery of a bronze medal from the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.

She was part of the Great Britain relay squad which finished fourth in the 4x400m.

But UK Athletics has informed Meadows and her coach, and husband, Trevor Painter, the result has now been upgraded to third.

Meadows already has an 800m bronze medal from that competition.

Painter said: “We knew about the 800m silver, but we didn’t even know about this relay one. We know there are more 
needed to come her way and we don’t know if they ever will but this is a good start.”

UK Athletics have been offering to present the reallocated medals at ceremonies – many were presented at the Worlds in London during the summer.

But having waited long enough to get her hands on the medals – and with no major events until the World Championships in Birmingham next month – she has opted to receive the medals in a far more low-key setting.

Painter hopes they arrive in time to be presented at the Wigan sports awards at the DW Stadium this Friday.

Mariya Savinova-Farnosova dominated the 800m during Meadows’ sparkling track career.

The Russian, better known by her maiden name of Savinova, was later given a four-year doping ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and stripped of many of her medals, including the London 2012 800 metres gold – prompting several upgrades.

Unfortunately for Meadows, so often a victim of cheats during her career, Savinova was allowed to keep the 2010 world indoor title she narrowly beat the British runner to as that race was in March, just weeks before the period which is covered by her doping punishment.

Meadows has already had one upgrade during her career – silver from the 2011 European Indoors was replaced with gold several years later.

And that means of the six senior international medals in her collection (including European and Worlds, Indoors and out), half were not ‘won’ at the time.

She is waiting to discover if she will receive more upgrades.

But they won’t include the events when she missed out on a place in the final.

For example, all three of the Russian women who made the 800 metres final at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu – Ekaterina Kostetskaya, Yuliya Rusanova and Savinova – have since been disqualified.

Meadows ran the ninth fastest time of the semi-finals to miss out on qualification for the final by one spot.

As well as the medals, she estimates the scandal has cost her a six-figure sum in lost prize money and sponsorship.

To further compound her bad luck, when Caster 
Semenya won the Worlds in ‘09 it sparked a debate about ‘intersex’ athletes. Two years later, a threshold for testosterone levels was introduced.

While it is a different issue from doping – there is no suggestion of cheating – Meadows was unfortunate she competed before the new tests were introduced.

The 36-year-old retired from competing last year but still races as a pacemaker at several major meetings, including Diamond League races.

COMMENT BY PHIL WILKINSON

The medals, and the hits, just keep on coming for Jenny Meadows.

Eight years after competing in the 400m relay at the World Championships – the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – she will receive a bronze from the event.

A second major medal will also be delivered to her Wigan home this week; both upgrades a result of the punishments handed to drugs cheats.

It’s sickening.

When Meadows grew up dreaming about winning a medal at the World Championships, I imagine she pictured herself standing onto a podium.

Not signing for a special delivery eight years later.