Indian sports fans will have mixed feelings about long jumper Anju Bobby George getting the gold medal for the women’s long jump in the 2005 Monaco World Athletics Final. On Tuesday, Anju said she was happy to be upgraded to a gold medallist after a frustrating nine-year wait. With the medal, Anju became the first Indian track and field athlete to win gold in a major world event.
The International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF), the international governing body for athletics, upgraded Anju following a dope violation by a Russian competitor called Tatyana Kotova.
While as Indians we have every reason to be proud of Anju, as sports fans, it is disappointing to see that despite everything, dope continues to throw its ugly shadow across the sporting world.
Even though anti-doping measures are becoming stricter and science is evolving quickly to catch the dope cheats, it is still a cat and mouse race between the cheats and the authorities.
The spectator watches sport because he likes to believe it is the last bastion of innocence. Doping shatters that belief and erodes faith in the ‘hard work always wins’ dictum.
How many other Anjus are there, deprived of what is rightfully theirs, waiting in vain perhaps, for a medal that would never come? So, it is a cocktail of happiness and sadness that the Anju Bobby George brings forth. Happiness at the medal, sadness that dope cheats continue to cheat other athletes and spectators too.