American Lashinda Demus is poised to enjoy an upgrade to gold after more of Natalia Antyukh’s old results are disqualified
Russian drug cheat Natalia Antyukh was given a four-year doping ban in 2021 and her old results from mid-2013 until the end of 2015 ruled invalid. But the disgraced 400m hurdler has now had her results from July 15 in 2012 to June 29 in 2013 disqualified after the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) found further evidence that she broke anti-doping rules a decade ago.
It means Antyukh loses the Olympic gold medal for the women’s 400m hurdles that she won in London in 2012 with the runner-up in that race, Lashinda Demus of the United States, set to be upgraded to Olympic champion if the medals are redistributed.
It also means Zuzana Hejnová of the Czech Republic will move up to the silver medal spot and Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica into bronze. Antyukh, however, is allowed to appeal the latest decision.
Demus, who is now 39, went into London 2012 as reigning world champion and ran 52.77 in the final but Antyukh came into the home straight in the lead and held off the fast-finishing Demus to clock a PB of 52.70 – at the time the sixth fastest in history – to narrowly beat the American.
A distraught Demus vowed to return to win Olympic gold but she was beset with injuries, including problems with her feet, knees and back, and she finished third in the World Championships the following year in Moscow behind winner Hejnová and Dalilah Muhammad.
When she was originally banned, Antyukh’s violation was described as “use of a prohibited substance/method” with the AIU saying this week that her 2012 and 2013 results have been erased due to “use of a Prohibited Substance/Method (Article 2.2) LIMS (laboratory information management system) evidence”.
The state-organised doping programme in Russia has led to the nation currently being banned from international athletics.
Russia originally won seven golds in athletics at the 2012 Olympics but following numerous retroactive anti-doping decisions the figure is down to just one — high jumper Anna Chicherova, who was stripped of her 2008 Olympic bronze for doping.
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