Caster Semenya could be crowned 2012 Olympic champion after a damning report on alleged systematic drug use in Russian athletics was released by a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) independent commission on Monday.
According to the report, Wada laboratory experts specifically pointed to 800m specialist Mariya Savinova’s doping test taken during the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, where she earned gold ahead of second-placed Semenya, which they termed as “very suspicious”.
Savinova went on to hold off a late charge from Semenya, the 2009 world champion, at the London Olympics the following year.
In a recorded conversation with whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova in November last year, Savinova admitted to using prohibited substances and explained how drug tests were covered up.
She admitted to taking multiple banned substances.
The Wada commission recommended that Savinova and Olympic 800m bronze medallist Ekaterina Poistogova be banned for life, along with three other Russian athletes.
If Wada follows through with the recommendations, Savinova could be stripped of her world and Olympic titles, and Semenya would consequently be bumped up to the top spot on the podium, albeit belatedly.
Should this occur, Semenya will become the first South African athlete to win world and Olympic titles in a track event.