Eilidh Doyle shows off her ‘new’ Moscow 2013 World Champs silver medal (photo via Twitter)
There was nothing unfamiliar about answering a knock at the door of her Kinross-shire home to receive a parcel from the local postman for new mum Eilidh Doyle back in late February.
After all, the man delivering the mail in these parts is none other than Eilidh’s brother, Jamie Child.
The surprise came within the package itself.
‘I think that feels like something significant – maybe even a medal?’ inquired Jamie of his famous sister, Scotland’s most decorated track and field athlete.
As it happens, the precious cargo was indeed an engraved silver medal from the Moscow 2013 World Champs for the Women’s 4 x 400m Relay.
Doyle already holds a bronze from the same event but the GB and NI team – which also featured Shana Cox, Margaret Adeoye and Christine Ohuruogu – have now been placed second after a drugs violation by one of the host Russian team.
The United States took gold at the time and France, fourth on the day, are now third as the likes of the IAAF World Athletics continue the process of re-writing results after doping offences.
A month after giving birth and I get a world silver medal… although this one was due in 2013 it's nice to have it now 😊 pic.twitter.com/e5jgNXPWG9
— Eilidh Doyle (@EilidhDoyle) February 27, 2020
Eilidh, for her part, is firmly of the belief that reallocation of medals must continue in the fight to weed out cheats.
‘The Worlds silver medal from Moscow 2013 coming through the post earlier this year was a special moment,’ she recalled, in part two of a special interview with scottishathletics.
‘It was only four weeks after I’d given birth to Campbell and there was me thinking I probably wouldn’t win any medals in 2020!
‘I knew the result had been changed but there had been no notification the medal was on the way to me so it came out of the blue. I’d had no message that they wanted the bronze back, for that matter.
‘My brother Jamie is the postman where we live now so it was a nice surprise when he came to the door with a package and said ‘I think this one might be a medal?’
So the Pitreave AAC athlete now has a silver to go with a bronze from Moscow and she admitted she would have been somewhat reluctant to part with the original award.
‘I would have had real mixed feelings if asked to return the bronze medal, to be honest. It was my first global medal in an outdoor champs – after doing well at the European Indoors earlier in that year.
‘The Moscow 2013 bronze is engraved with my name and our time so I am not sure if it works for another team!
The GB and NI Women’s 4x400m Relay quartet in Moscow seven years ago (picture by Mark Shearman)
‘In Moscow that day we made the podium, did the lap of honour and managed to get photos with Usain Bolt. So there are some very special memories attached to that one. Obviously you don’t always get that in these reallocation situations.
‘But I was still pleased to get the silver. We earned that one. Cleanly.
‘It’s belated, of course it is, but they have to keep righting these wrongs. They just have to keep on doing them.
‘I’ve seen the likes of Lee McConnell and Nicola Sanders getting re-allocated medals at special presentations like one in the London Stadium and at Glasgow 2019 and their kids have been able to enjoy the moment with them.
‘It isn’t the same, and you cannot recreate the original moment in time, but it is right that we acknowledge and celebrate medals won by fair means. I think that is important.
‘Lee has mentioned that of course you lose out on status, sponsorship and finance by the original cheating and that’s very true. Those moments have gone and a newly allocated medal is only consolation for that, I guess.
‘But we just have to hope the more governing bodies keep doing them the more cheats are weeded out and the right results go in the history book. That’s important for assessments on an athlete’s career.’
*Eilidh has been working closely with LifeFit Wellness, based in Falkirk and Linlithgow, through her pregnancy and now since the birth of Campbell to constantly analyse and re-assess her return o fitness.
Husband Brian works there as a soft tissue therapist and is part of the four-strong team helping Eilidh that features David Bowmaker (Lead physiotherapist), Dr Alethea Beck (Consultant in sport and exercise medicine) and Kate Leishman (physiotherapist).