JENNY Meadows received a medals boost as she fine tunes her preparation for the World Championships in Beijing.
The Wigan Harrier – currently at a training camp in Japan – has learned two of her main rivals on the international scene over the last few years are facing doping bans.
Russian 800m runners Mariya Savinova and Ekaterina Poistogova could face four-year suspensions after governing body IAAF asked the Russian athletics federation to respond to alleged violations, the German broadcaster ARD reported.
Both athletes have beaten Meadows on the big stage and she will now have to wait to see whether the pair are stripped of past achievements – if so, she could receive medal upgrades.
The 34-year-old’s only major international title – 2011 European Indoor gold – came from an upgrade, after the two Russian athletes who finished ahead of her were later found to have cheated.
And Meadows may profit further by these latest developments. Savinova, especially, has dominated the event in recent years, winning World Indoor gold in 2010, when Meadows won silver.
Meadows also finished third and fourth at European Championships in 2010 and 2011 (indoor) when Savinova won gold.
“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” said Meadows’ coach and husband, Trevor Painter.
Meadows has been a vocal supporter of tough sanctions for doping cheats.
She has three medals from major championships which are the ‘wrong’ colour – when athletes finishing higher on the podium have later failed tests – and estimates the lost sponsorship and prize money have cost her thousands of pounds.
The doping issue has overshadowed the build-up to this week’s World Athletics Championships, which starts on Saturday,
The IAAF has faced fresh allegations by the Sunday Times that it turned a blind eye to potential mass doping in the sport, which it denied.
And Meadows has said: “I do think there will be athletes in my event, the women’s 800m, who won’t be clean athletes...which is not a very nice thing to have to deal with.”
She hopes to return to her early-season form and re-establish herself on the international stage.
Mo Farah has been among the other British athletes with her at a high-altitude training camp in Gifu, Japan.
Meadows has spent the past two weeks there and will relocate to China this weekend, ahead of the start of the 800m next Wednesday.
“It’s very peaceful so you can focus on training,” said Painter.
“It’s 90 minutes drive down the mountain trail to the nearest supermarket so if you have a desire for a drink of Coke or to see civilisation it will be a three-hour trip! We haven’t had to do that yet!
“The Japanese have been great, very friendly and helpful.”
Meadows was ranked in the top three in the world when injury denied her the chance of competing at the London Olympics.
She hopes a successful World Championships will “give me a spring in my step going forward to Rio” next year.