A long jumper from Basingstoke who won a silver in the 2019 European Masters Championships in Italy has his medal upgraded to gold, more than two years after the event.

Neil Barton from Hatch Warren has been crowned European Masters champion in long jump in 35-39 age category following the disqualification of gold winning German athlete who failed a dope test.

Neil, a safety consultant, was working from home when he heard the unexpected happy news.

“I couldn't believe it,” Neil, 41 now, said.

"I received a call from the secretary of the British Masters Athletics Federation. She informed me that the German athlete who'd won the competition has been disqualified following a doping violation and his results have been annulled.

"One minute, I'm working at home on a drizzly afternoon, the next I'm being told I'm European champion. I did not see that coming.”

Although the news was only announced in November 2021, the German athlete's sample taken at the 2019 championships had returned a positive result, and a one-year ban was issued.

This meant that Neil was upgraded to the gold medal position, with the official results updated to confirm his status as European Masters champion.

Officials are now looking to arrange a medal reallocation. Neil has been advised that he'll be receiving the gold medal next year and will need to return the silver.

"I was delighted to win the silver medal, it was only my second time competing for Great Britain, and the competition went really well.

"While I would have loved to have heard the British national anthem played at the medal ceremony, I can't complain. To say that I'm shocked and over the moon is an understatement.”

Basingstoke Gazette: Neil BartonNeil Barton

Neil has always been in athletics since he was nine. Having been part of the county championships during his early years, Neil retired from sports in his late 20s. But it was a friend who pushed him to take up Masters athletics when he turned 35, the minimum age for competing in Masters events.

A member of Basingstoke & Mid Hants Athletics Club, Neil is currently training for next year's World Masters Championships.