Retired Newmarket Team GB javelin star Goldie Sayers to finally get her Olympic bronze medal at the Anniversary Games in the Olympic Stadium
More than 10 years have passed since she was denied her moment in the spotlight – and Goldie Sayers admits she can’t wait to finally receive her Olympic bronze medal, writes Andy Baber.
The retired Newmarket javelin star finished fourth at the Beijing 2008 Games despite throwing a British record of 65.75m as German Christina Obergfoll claimed the final podium spot.
But Russian Mariya Abakumova subsequently had her silver medal stripped after a re-analysis of a sample from the Games resulted in a positive test for anabolic steroid turinabol.
Her appeal against the doping ban was dismissed last year and Sayers will now finally receive her long-awaited bronze medal in July at the Anniversary Games – a moment she plans to savour.
“I found out that it was going to be presented at the London Stadium a couple of months ago and you can choose now how you like it presented,” said SportsAid alumni Sayers.
“It’s nice for it to be in a stadium where you can invite friends and family to share the moment with you, but I found out about the actual medal back in December.
“It was a performance that would win a medal in any other Olympic Games and I found out initially that the Russian athlete had failed a retrospective doping test in 2016.
“But then she appealed so it took about two years for that appeal to go through. It then has to be officially ratified and you have to be notified by the IOC, so it was quite a long process.
“It is definitely frustrating and sadly at the time there is nothing you can do about it, it’s just nice to finally be recognised for a performance that was pretty special on the day.
“I couldn’t have done any more and it’s sad to miss out on ten years of your career not knowing that you were an Olympic medallist but I’m going to enjoy the moment with friends and family.
“In a way it’s a positive as they wouldn’t have all been there at the time, so it will be nice to share it with everybody – I can invite my first coaches and PE teachers and everybody to the stadium.”
Sayers was speaking at a SportsAid workshop being hosted by the Mayor of London’s office, which is supporting over 75 athletes from in and around the London region, at the London Stadium.
Athletes are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports based on set criteria for each, with the typical value of a SportsAid award £1,000.
Sayers was joined at the event by fellow Olympians Anthony Ogogo and Leon Taylor, as well as Commonwealth gold medallist Ama Agbeze, and hailed the impact of SportsAid’s support.
“I was a recipient of the SportsAid award probably 20 years ago now and I kept the letter because it meant so much to me at the time,” said Sayers.
“It’s the first recognition that people have seen what you’ve achieved and are supporting you along the way, so for me I like to give back to organisations that helped me in my career.
“The financial support is important but I think more than that, it was just knowing that an organisation had recognised you as a young athlete with potential to be a senior international.
“It is a huge opportunity for them and we can lose a lot of young athletes if they don’t have that financial support behind them, so it’s a great charity that supports the future of British sport.”
* The Mayor of London is working with SportsAid to provide financial support and personal development opportunities to talented young athletes from across the capital. Click here to find out more.