Archer feels ‘cheated’ despite upgrade

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Hatti Archer (competing under her maiden name of Dean) originally finished fourth in the 3000m steeplechase in Barcelona

British steeplechaser Hatti Archer says she feels “cheated” after being upgraded to a silver medal for the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona.

Archer, who competed as Hatti Dean, came fourth but was promoted to bronze in 2015 after Spanish runner-up Marta Dominguez was found guilty of doping.

She will now be awarded the silver medal after Russia’s Lyubov Kharlamova, who finished third, was disqualified.

The 35-year-old told BBC Sport she feels “sadness again” at the news.

“I was cheated out of so much, not just at the time but for all of my subsequent career,” explained the former British record holder.

“I feel really sad that I wasn’t able to enjoy competing as a European medallist – because I know what a confidence boost that would have given me.

“I never had huge natural confidence in my ability on the track and my coach, Bud Baldaro, had to work a lot on that. I feel if I’d known at the time I was second in Europe then I would have had the confidence to achieve even more.”

European Athletics have confirmed the upgrade and say a medal for Archer will be sent to British Athletics in September.

“It’s obviously brilliant to receive it now rather than not at all but the difference that a European medal would have made to myself and my running career in 2010 is huge,” she added.

“As it was, I felt I had to do even more, including train even harder, to improve and compete with the best athletes, which contributed to over-training and injuries in subsequent years.”

Kharlamova was one of six Russians punished for drugs offences by the country’s anti-doping agency.

Five other Russian athletes and a weightlifter were also given suspensions by anti-doping agency, Rusada.

And Archer, who competed under her maiden surname Dean but is now married to fellow distance runner Dave Archer, is not surprised that more cases of doping are being uncovered.

“Along with many others I’ve had many suspicions over the years that we’ve not been competing on a level playing field,” she said.

“It can only be a good thing that many athletes have been caught and banned now, it’s just extremely sad that it has taken so long to find out the truth.

“There is a lot more being done now, but it’s worrying how long it takes to catch athletes. Athletes are being caught 10 years after the event and medals reallocated, and I feel worried that this will be a continuing trend.”

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