Kelly Sotherton: Ex-heptathlete to get Beijing Olympic bronze upgrade

Tatyana Chernova hugs Kelly Sotherton after the women's heptathlon 800m final at Beijing 2008
Tatyana Chernova (right) hugs Kelly Sotherton after the heptathlon 800m final

Britain's Kelly Sotherton is set to be upgraded to an Olympic bronze medal for the second time in five months after retrospective drug tests.

Russian Tatyana Chernova has been stripped of the heptathlon bronze she won at Beijing in 2008 after testing positive for a steroid.

Sotherton won heptathlon bronze in 2004 and had already been moved to third in the Beijing 4x400m relay after Belarus and Russia's disqualification.

She was fifth in the 2008 heptathlon.

However, the 40-year-old has now climbed to third after the previously announced doping ban of Ukrainian Lyudmila Blonska and now Chernova.

Sotherton retired five years ago after failing to recover from a back problem in time to qualify for the heptathlon at London 2012.

After finding out she was to become a three-time Olympic medallist, Sotherton posted an emotional video on social media showing her reaction.

"Yes I had tears. Happy ones this time," she said.

Sotherton's compatriot, Jessica Ennis-Hill, belatedly won the 2011 World heptathlon title last year when Chernova was similarly stripped of gold for doping.

Former UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins, who oversaw the 2008 Games, said that British athletes receiving their medals was an "essential step for the sport".

Collins' contract was not renewed after Britain fell one short of their medal target in Beijing.

"It's great to see but clearly it's a disappointment they didn't get their day in the sun," he said.

"It's great to see the teams getting recognition late, because it's better late than never. But by gosh, it would have been a lot better at the time."

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