Nine years after , Mariam Usman has fi nally received her long awaited 2008 Olympic bronze medal initially awarded to Koroboka Olha of Russia.
Th e Russian was stripped off the bronze medal after she tested positive in 2008 after the Beijing Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Th e President of Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr Habu Gumel formally decorated the country’s weightlifter, Mariam Usman with the medal at the Abuja National Stadium yesterday.
Engineer Gumel in Abuja said the NOC is confi dent about the fi ght against doping championed by the International Olympic Committee, IOC.
“Today is a very important day for the us in the sense that we have our weightlifter, Mariam Usman +75kg decorated as an Olympic medallist”.
“After every competition, there is always a test to be sure the athletes are free from drugs.
Th e medallists were tested and the lady from Ukraine tested positive and the IOC decided to retrieve t the medal and give to the rightful owner who is Mariam”, He noted.
Gumel added that for an athlete to win a medal at any Olympics Games, it takes between 4 to 10 years of training and hard work.
”We’ll create an enabling environment for the athletes to thrive and eventually win medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics”.
“We have the Commonwealth games next year in Australia, Youth Olympic games and Olympic games in Tokyo 2020.
It is our responsibility that we tighten our belt and start training”.
Th e recipient, Mariam Usman of Nigeria said, “I feel excited, overwhelmed, I feel like I’m on to us.
“We believe in integrity, and fairness in competitions therefore where we have performed fairly, we also expect justice to be fair to us.
I use this opportunity to congratulate the Nigeria Olympic Committee for doing a good job.
” “Today is a very important day for us.
I received an email from the International Olympic Committee asking me to decorate Mariam Usman with this Olympic Bronze medal and send the pictures to them.
I’m doing this decoration on behalf of the International Olympic Committee to be used next week in Peru during the IOC session where the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games will be awarded.
“We are happy that this medal has fi nally come to us and I charge all federations to commence training early ahead of the Commonwealth Games next year.
All Federations Presidents as well as board members of the Nigeria Olympic Committee were in attendance during the decoration ceremony.
the podium right now because getting an Olympic medal means a lot to me as an athlete.
” Th e Russian beat me with one kilogram and took the bronze slightly.
It was a narrow escape and since it does not belong to her and came back to the rightful owner”, she told aclsports.
Speaking on what it’s like to waiting for 9 years, Mariam said, “Th e doping fi ght is really working.
We appreciate what they are doing for those of us lifting clean”.