Nairobi: Beijing 2008 Olympic women’s 800m champion Pamela Jelimo of Kenya received her bronze medal from the London 2012 Games at a special ceremony here on Wednesday, ten years after the conclusion of the Summer Games in the British capital.
The ceremony was presided by International Olympic Committee (IOC) members Kipchoge Keino and Paul Tergat, themselves Kenyan distance running legends, reports Xinhua news agency.
Jelimo was among three athletes who have received an upgrade of their performance from the London 2012 Games after the race winner Mariya Savinova from Russia was stripped of the medal for doping.
In London, Jelimo ran 1:57.59 to initially finish fourth in the defence of the title she won in China where she ran an African record of 1:54.01, and received her bronze medal surrounded by her family at the National Museum in Nairobi.
“My children can now watch me receive the bronze medal, 10 years later. This is like a dream; I initially didn’t believe it when I heard the good news. It’s truly a dream of every athlete to win a medal in the Olympics and I’m honored to have my parents accompany me and share this joy,” Jelimo told reporters.
She told reporters that she would sleep with her medal as she exalted those actively running to shun using prohibited substances or falling foul of whereabouts rules.
South Africa’s Caster Semenya and another Russian Ekaterina Poistogova were upgraded to gold and silver with another Kenyan, Beijing 2008 silver medallist Janeth Jepkosgei moving up to the eighth position and was presented with a certificate from the IOC.
Two-time world champion Hellen Obiri, who won the silver at the Rio 2016 Summer Games, was also handed a certificate from London 2012 after being moved up to eighth in the women’s 5,000 final.
“I remember 2012 since it was my first Olympics, my expectations were high honestly, and however I didn’t come close to the medal bracket. I’m humbled to receive the upgrade and this is a motivation to fellow athletes to run clean,” Obiri remarked.
The ceremony came against a backdrop of Kenya being spared an international ban by World Athletics last week due to the spike in doping cases.
So far this year, 25 athletes have been sanctioned for anti-doping offences with the number expected to be higher since cases are still under review by the Athletics Integrity Unit and the local Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya.