MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian race walker Jared Tallent will receive his long awaited Olympic gold medal at a special ceremony in Melbourne next month.
Tallent finished second in the 50 kilometer walk at the 2012 Olympics behind Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin, who was found guilty of doping last year and handed a three-year, two-month suspension by Russia’s anti-doping agency, backdated to the London Games.
Kirdyapkin was one of three Russian athletes stripped of their London medals by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in March and athletics’ governing body the IAAF said they would re-allocate the medals.
“I’m ecstatic to be finally getting the medal that I deserve. The gold medal I should have received in London has been a long time coming,” Tallent said in an Athletics Australia statement on Saturday.
“It’ll be a magical moment to receive it in Melbourne in front of my family and friends.
“I’m looking forward to heading to Rio as the defending Olympic champion and having the medal beforehand means everything is in its place, just as it should be.”
Tallent has been a vocal critic of doping in sports and has refused to shake hands with athletes he believed were guilty of using banned substances at the end of races.
He could not resist firing another barb at the Russian athletics body, who are currently banned from international competition following a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency that exposed systematic state-sponsored doping and related corruption.
“I imagine the medal must be on its way back to the IOC in Lausanne now,” added Tallent, who is in Rome for a race.
“Let’s hope the Russian Postal service is more efficient than their anti-doping agency.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty