2008 Olympics: Nigeria to be upgraded to Silver

Anulika Menanya, Lagos

Nigeria’s 4x100m relay team’s bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics will be upgraded to silver after Russia was stripped of a relay gold medal on Tuesday.

Russia lost the title after one of its female sprinters, Yulia Chermoshanskaya tested positive for steroids in a reanalysis of her doping samples.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says Chermoshanskaya tested positive for two drugs — stanozolol and turinabol — and has been retroactively disqualified and, along with her teammates, stripped of the gold medal in the women’s 4×100-meter relay.

Chermoshanskaya was also disqualified from the 200 meters, in which she finished eighth.

With this development, Belgium stands to be upgraded to the relay gold, with Nigeria moving up to silver and Brazil to bronze.

The IOC asked the IAAF to modify the results and consider any further sanctions against Chermoshanskaya, who is no longer competing.

The three other Russians runners in the relay final were Yulia Gushchina, Alexandra Fedoriva and Evgeniya Polyakova. Under IAAF rules, an entire relay team loses its medals if one of the runners tests positive.

The Belgian runners in line to get gold are Olivia Borlee, Hanna Marien, Elodie Ouedraogo and Kim Gevaert.

Turinabol and stanozolol are traditional steroids that go back decades. Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for stanozolol at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and he was stripped of the gold medal in the 100 meters.

Chermoshanskaya is the seventh athlete so far who has been formally disqualified by the IOC as a result of the Beijing and London retesting programme. Ukrainian javelin thrower Oleksandr Pyatnytsya was stripped of her silver medal from London after she tested positive for turinabol.