Retiring Goldie Sayers has sympathy for clean athletes as she awaits Olympic bronze verdict
- Credit: AP
Goldie Sayers announced her retirement from athletics with a sense of injustice and enormous sympathy for the British competitors who could see their world records wiped.
Sayers, 34, called time on her career yesterday, having sustained a number of injuries over the last eight years – that sequence of misfortune including the Newmarket-born javelin thrower failing to reach the final at London 2012, having injured her arm a week before the Games started.
She previously finished fourth at the 2008 Beijing Games, but discovered last year she was to be awarded a retrospective bronze medal, after silver medallist Mariya Abakumova failed a doping retest for a banned substance.
The 11-time British champion now awaits the results of Abakumova’s appeal, whilst the likes of Paula Radcliffe, Jonathan Edwards and Colin Jackson face having their world records wiped, after European Athletics proposed scrapping any achievement pre-2005 in light of the doping scandal and because blood and urine samples have not been stored to be retested.
“We can’t keep punishing clean athletes,” said Sayers.
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“Somewhere down the line, the fundamentals have to be put in place where everyone must follow the same stringent guidelines, that’s where people’s energies need to be focused.
“I’d be absolutely gutted if I was in their (Radcliffe, Jackson, Edwards) position and I feel for them.
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“People have said stripping athletes of their world records is a small price to pay (to clean up the sport), but the clean athletes shouldn’t be punished.”
Looking ahead, Sayers has set up a mentoring website for young javelin throwers and has been named Team GB’s deputy chef de mission at this year’s European Youth Olympic Festival.
That is the next stage of her career, but there is still one chapter to be closed – whether or not she finally receives that bronze medal.
“I’m not a particularly angry person but I was denied probably the greatest moment of my life, and not being able to get that moment back is pretty galling. I’d rather retire knowing I was not quite good enough,” Sayers added.
“I will certainly celebrate if I receive the bronze.
“I know how much I’ve given to the sport and it’s important to celebrate your successes as you fail a hundred times more than you succeed.”