RETURN MEDALS, ANGRY SALLY SAYS: Barsosio annoyed with Junxia doping reports
Kenya’s first women world champion, Sally Barsosio, reacted with consternation to a reported confession by China’s former world record holder, Wang Junxia to doping during her days at the top of global athletics.
“What? I suspected her strength was not natural. What a shame!,” Barsosio, 38, said when informed about the development that could dip track and field into further turmoil.
“So doping started many years back? But I am happy that I never took performance enhancing drugs and I thank my manager (the late) Kim MacDonald,” said Barsosio, who works in the Kenya Defence Forces.
“But now what happens to the medals and other prizes she won? She should return them. I always tried but I could not beat her even when I thought I had prepared so well,” said Barsosio.
Junxia’s confession to doping during her years as a top athlete in a 20-year-old letter was yet to be authenticated by IAAF.
It was widely reported in a Chinese newspaper. (See separate story on opposite page)
Barsorio was Kenya’s first woman world champion, when she won 10,000m gold in 1997 in Athens. She is recorded as the youngest ever world junior medallist, at 14 and 182 days, when she won bronze in Seoul in 1992.
Junxia won gold in the same event, 10,000m, in 32:29.90 and was followed by Ethiopian Gete Wami in 32:41.57. Sally clocked 32: 41.76. But that was not the only event where the Chinese denied Sally a gold medal.
In 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, where winners got Mercedes Benz limousines, Junxia won the 10,000m in 30:49.30, followed by compatriot Zhong Huandi, in 31:12.55. Sally was third in 31:15.38.
Junxia was to cross paths with many other Kenyan athletes, who she beat, now we know, under controversial circumstances.
At the 1992 World Cross Country Championships in Boston, USA, Paula Radcliffe of Britain won the junior women’s race in 13:30, with Junxia second in 13:35 and Lydia Cheromei third in 13:43. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Junxia won 5,000 (14:59.88).
Pauline Konga took silver (15:03.49) and Roberta Brunet of Italy bronze (15:07.52). Junxia went ahead to claim silver in 10,000m (31:02.59) behind Portuguese Fernanda Ribeiro (31:01.63).
Gete Wami was third in 31:06.65. Barsosio still runs, but only to maintain her fitness levels. “I have just come from a two-hour morning run. I thought I would be running actively, but age has set in and other factors have made competition at the top a bit challenging,” she told FeverPitch from her home in Eldoret.
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