Morden 400m athlete Fidelis Gadzama finally wins Olympic gold 13 years after being cheated
An Olympic athlete has finally received his gold medal 13 years after his team was cheated out of first by an athlete later found to be using drugs.
Fidelis Gadzama, of Alexandra Square in Morden, competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics as part of the men’s 400m relay team which came second to the USA.
The US team was later stripped of their gold medals after Antonio Pettigrew admitted using performance enhancing drugs in 2008.
Mr Gadzama, 33, travelled to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, last month to finally receive his medal 13 years after his team’s winning race.
He said: "It was an amazing feeling. We fought for it for a long time.
"One of the team tested positive but they were still defiant.
"But when Michael Johnson handed over his own medal that is when we knew that it was inevitable and that our medals would be given.
"It was my first Olympics and was very happy to be part of it."
In the original race Jamaica finished third and the Bahamas fourth.
Mr Fidelis added: "I was honoured to collect my gold medal from the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, in a wonderful ceremony with my other colleagues in the 400m relay squad.
"It means a lot to me and to my family "I now want to use my links in the world of athletics to help others to take up sporting activities in Merton."
Mr Gadzama left African athletics in 2007 when he moved to the UK to join the British Navy where he helped deliver fitness training for navy personnel.
Four years later he was forced to step down on medical grounds after the reappearance of an old injury.
Councillor Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council, said "When I heard about Fidelis and his 13 year battle for his gold medal I wanted to learn more about this Olympian living in our midst in Morden.
"He is a truly modest man but very keen to be a role model especially for the youngsters of this borough.
"That is why I will be introducing him to our schools and to the sports community of Merton."
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