KOS Media have launched a campaign to right a wrong – and get Dame Kelly Holmes the gold medal she still craves.
In a campaign we will take to the very top of world athletics, we want drug cheat Regina Jacobs stripped of the gold she won at the World Indoor Athletics Championship in 2003.
She pipped our Kelly into second place – but just weeks later was exposed as a drug cheat; testing positive for steroids.
Now KOS Media, is launching a bid to win our local heroine the title we feel should now be rightfully hers.
Holmes, who won two gold medals at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, was beaten into second place at the indoor 1,500m event in Birmingham in March 2003 by Jacobs.
But Jacobs later failed a drugs test after winning at the US Championships in June.
She was handed a four-year ban, but aged 40 at the time, decided to call time on her career. Jacobs, who has always protested her innocence, was stripped of the national title, but because the World Indoors preceded the failed test, the result in Birmingham still stands.
KOS Media is now urging the sport’s governing body – the International Association of Athletics Federations – to review this decision in the light of a recent case in which Great Britain’s 1997 4x400m relay team were awarded the World title after finishing second to a US team which included Antonio Pettigrew.
He admitted having used banned substances at the time and consequently, they found out this month they will get their gold medals after the four GB athletes began a campaign in 2008.
Holmes from Hildenborough, near Tonbridge, admits the defeat to an athlete that later was found to use performance enhancing drugs, still rankles.
“I think [the medal] should be taken away from that athlete if they have been done for drugs,” she said. “If they have been caught in that year of competition, well they actually didn’t just get caught doing it right there and then did they? It was before that.
“[Regina Jacobs] was somebody that was banned that season and yet she wasn’t stripped of the gold medal she won in March of that year and I think that’s wrong.
“If you have been banned from sport give back the medal from that year. She got caught and banned and there’s a logic to say that, okay, she got caught in June it’s more than likely she was using it in March as well. So then give back the medals, not so much mine, but they should be given back as a general rule.”
Eyebrows had been raised six weeks prior to the Birmingham meet when Jacobs, then 39, became the first woman to run 1500 metres in under four minutes indoors, breaking a 13-year world record.
For Holmes, the World Indoor title is one accolade missing from her glittering CV.
“For me, the worst thing was that it was in Birmingham and I would have loved to have stood there as World Indoor champion, but instead I was a silver medallist which is a great achievement, but not when you have done it against a druggie at the end of the day,” she said.
KOS Media will lobby the IAAF to re-examine the case and is urging readers to send in their letters of support to help the campaign.
Sports editor Glenn Pearson said: “We feel this is something that needs looking into and the record should be set straight. Dame Kelly has strong views against the use of drugs in sport and so do we.
“We urge our readers to get involved with our campaign.”