Three-time Olympian, Jared Tallent OAM (SA) will arrive in Taicang this week for a now-familiar procedure, a medal upgrade ceremony. Tallent will be awarded two gold medals from the 2012 and 2016 IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships 50-kilometre race walk, following the recently confirmed positive doping test of the 2016 first-placed race walker Alex Schwazer (ITA) and a previously confirmed series of abnormalities in the Athlete Biological Passport profile of 2012 first-placed Sergey Kirdyapkin (RUS) and second-placed Igor Erokhin (RUS).
The ceremony in Taicang will represent the third time Tallent has received an upgraded medal following a competitor’s doping sanction. The 33-year old is currently waiting on the presentation of a 2011 World Championship silver medal following the positive test of 50-kilometre competitor Sergey Bakulin (RUS), likely to occur in Doha in 2019, followed by an upgraded 2012 Olympic gold medal, after Kirdyapkin exhibited abnormalities in his Athlete Biological Passport profile following the 50-kilometre race walk.
Tallent has maintained a dignified, yet determined voice against doping within the race walking community, “The details of the IAAF findings and subsequent sanctioning for the doping of Russian athletes are well known. I gratefully accept my 2012 gold medal on behalf of all athletes who strive for success in the best way possible. Clean, fair and with humility”.
Tallent finished second in Rome to Schwazer, as the former Olympic record holder returned to competition following a three and a half year doping ban having returned a positive test for erythropoietin, the banned red blood cell production booster, in 2012.
The medal upgrade ceremony is likely to take place following the Men’s 50-kilometre event, affording Tallent the opportunity to receive his medal and congratulations from his race walking peers.
Athletics Australia CEO, Darren Gocher, was happy to see Tallent receive a long-awaited medal ceremony, “We are really pleased that Jared has the opportunity to attend the medal upgrade ceremony in Taicang this weekend, and receive recognition as the gold medallist for the 50km event at both the 2012 and 2016 IAAF World Race Walking Championships. Jared has had an outstanding career and is a terrific role model for young athletes in our sport”.
When asked about the upcoming medal ceremony, Tallent proudly responded, “My 2016 gold represents years of sacrifice and dedication to the pursuit of excellence. I was unfortunately again robbed of the opportunity of standing atop of the victory dais and singing the National anthem. I will certainly be belting it out with pride on this very special occasion.”
Tallent has been one of Australia’s most successful athletes in the history of the sport and over the nine years from 2008 to 2016, he has won a staggering 11 global race walking medals. Saturday’s ceremony will act as a confirmation of Tallent’s competitive dominance over the last decade, a beacon of integrity and determination in the face of trying competitive circumstances.
Sean Whipp for Athletics Australia
Image: Jared Tallent (Getty Images)