Jessica Ennis-Hill has not given up hope of becoming a three-time world champion as she waits for the gold medal she was denied in 2011 by a drug cheat.
The Olympic champion completed a remarkable return to the pinnacle of the sport 13 months after the birth of son Reggie by winning the heptathlon crown at the World Championships in Beijing on Sunday. It was her first time back on the global stage since London 2012.
The Sheffield athlete’s Olympic gold followed a silver medal at the World Championships in Daegu in 2011, where she was beaten by Tatyana Chernova. In January the Russian received a two-year ban, backdated to 2013, after the retesting of a sample from the 2009 World Championships revealed an anabolic steroid. Her results over a two-year period from August 2009 were annulled, but the period of disqualification expired weeks before Daegu, allowing her to hold on to that gold.
Chernova would not have had the qualifying standard for the 2011 event if her positive test had been discovered at the time, though.
“With regards to 2011 it’s frustrating and ongoing,” said Ennis-Hill. “What happened in Daegu helped me as it put me in a great position for London. I don’t think I’d have changed it. It really helped me the following year. I still want to be world champion for the third time, but I hope to get that medal at some time, whether that’s next year or 10 years down the line.”
Her coach Toni Minichiello urged the International Association of Athletics Federations to speed up the decision-making process over medal re-allocation.
“If (incoming president) Seb Coe is to create a real legacy then make the wheels turn quicker. Give people their rightful medals before they retire,” he said.
Ennis-Hill’s triumph at the Bird’s Nest stadium this weekend was followed by victory for Usain Bolt over two-time drug cheat Justin Gatlin in the 100 metres, helping to restore some of the credibility the sport has lost amid the doping allegations of recent weeks.
“It’s great to see the likes of Bolt performing amazingly,” she said.
“He put on a great show. Hopefully it gives the sport a lift, we’re going through a difficult time.”