Semenya, Viljoen World Champs medals upgraded following Russian doping bans

semenya viljoen world champs medals upgraded following russian doping bans 1200x1940 - Semenya, Viljoen World Champs medals upgraded following Russian doping bans

JOHANNESBURG – Following the decision of the IAAF to re-allocate medals of the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, SA’s Caster Semenya and Sunette Viljoen will now receive their gold and silver medals respectively.

The IAAF will be honouring the affected athletes at the upcoming World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

For Viljoen’s re-allocated silver medal, the IAAF plans to hold the ceremony on October 2 at the Khalifa Stadium at the beginning of the afternoon session, around 4.30pm.

And for Semenya, the IAAF will hand her medal to ASA in Doha. Athletics SA will in turn decide on the appropriate time, venue and date for an official handover to the athlete.

These upgrades are the results of disqualifications of the original medallists from Russia for doping violations. 

Semenya moved into the gold position in the women’s 800m following the disqualification of Mariya Savinova, while Viljoen moved into silver medal position in the women’s Javelin Throw after Maria Abakumova was disqualified. 

sunettelouw2 - Semenya, Viljoen World Champs medals upgraded following Russian doping bans
South Africa’s star javelin thrower Sunette Viljoen will receive her re-allocated Silver medal in Doha later this year. Photo: Reg Caldecott

“Excellent news indeed for the two athletes who had been placed wrongly because of those who cheated the system at the time, but after eight years we are happy that justice has been done,” said Aleck Skhosana, the president of ASA.

“Congratulations to our athletes for their achievements and for being honoured as clean athletes. Their achievements are a great example to other athletes who not only look up to them, but who also aspire to reach the top of the world’s performances as clean athletes.

“We are happy that the IAAF now offers a chance to the rightful winners a podium celebration in front of a capacity stadium which the cheats denied them at the original competition.”

The re-allocation makes Semenya a triple world champion after also winning the 2009 (1:55.45) and 2017 (1:55.16) versions, while Viljoen’s upgrade adds to her bronze of August 2015 at the National Stadium in Beijing, China (65.79m). 

African News Agency (ANA)

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