Doping brings RedMachine to a halt

2013-01-27 10:00

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But BSA declares the suspended boxer won’t face the music alone

While the world of sport was still digesting the shocking doping revelations by former top cyclist Lance Amstrong, South Africa was this week rocked by news that boxer Viwe “RedMachine” Mdletyeni had tested positive for a banned substance.

The SA lightweight champion was found guilty by the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids).

As outlined in the Saids disciplinary hearing report, he has since been stripped of his title as “a presence of prohibited substances (stimulant methylhexaneamine and diuretic furosemide)” was found in his system.

This after his fight against Thompson Mokwana in July when he won the title.

The Mthatha-born Mdletyeni will now watch boxing from the stands as he has been slapped with a 15-month suspension, which ends on November 22, prohibiting him “from competing in the sport of boxing as well as any other organised sport”.

The sanctions run from August last year, when he was provisionally suspended pending the outcome of the disciplinary hearing.

Although Mdletyeni has up to February 8 to appeal his suspension, it is highly unlikely he will even consider appealing the verdict and, even if he does, the chances of him winning are slim.

Boxing SA (BSA) chief executive Moffat Qithi said BSA was “shocked” by Mdletyeni’s doping scandal and the disgraced boxer was not going to go down alone as several other people played a role.

Meanwhile, Saids doping control manager Fahmy Galant told City Press that “only the boxer will face the music” as far as Saids was concerned, adding that there was “no case against anyone but the boxer”.

The 44-page Saids report repeatedly points out that one of the contributory factors to Mdletyeni’s misconduct was lack of anti-doping education for boxers in general.

This factor played a major role in the less harsh penalty that was finally imposed.

Confusingly though, Mdletyeni holds a BSc degree in health promotion and it makes little sense that he had insufficient knowledge about the consumption of illegal substances.

Qithi dismissed the anti-doping education claim, describing it as a “misplaced statement”.

He adds that BSA runs anti-doping workshops in all provinces to enlighten boxers about the dangers of using performance-enhancing substances.

He said it was not the responsibility of BSA if boxers were ignorant and negligent.

On the flip side, boxers who City Press spoke to said they had never heard of any BSA anti-doping workshops as per Qithi’s statement.

According to Qithi, plans to roll out a BSA newsletter, which will be distributed to all its licensees, were at an advanced stage.

“Through the newsletter, we will be able to educate boxers about crucial issues affecting them, more so doping,” he said.

Mdletyeni’s fall from grace

Mdletyeni has swollen knuckles

» His coach/uncle Mthethunzima Dumezweni gives him Pharmaton drugs four weeks before the fight.

» Coach sends Mdletyeni to see a physiotherapist.

Physiotherapist fails to help

» Mdletyeni, without his coach’s consent, seeks help from his instructor/weight trainer, whom he knows from the gym.

» The instructor gives him four tablets. He takes one on the Wednesday leading up to the Saturday fight and feels better.

Lightweight fight happens

» Mdletyeni, the challenger, wins the fight via a split decision and is crowned the South African lightweight champion. He pockets the R15 000 purse money.

» His urine sample goes for a test.

Suspicions arise after the fight

» Furosemide and methylhexaneamine (illegal ingredients) are found in Mdletyeni’s urine sample and Boxing SA (BSA) informs his coach.

» Dumezweni tells Mdletyeni about the results and Mdletyeni is shocked.

» Mdletyeni is provisionally suspended from boxing, pending a disciplinary hearing outcome.

The three mysterious tablets

» The tablets are then taken for testing.

» Of the three tablets, a so-called “small white tablet” is found to contain furosemide.

SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport summons Mdletyeni to a disciplinary hearing for arguments and submissions

» Mdletyeni reveals he got an unknown supplement drink (Evox 3DT Muscle Punch) from an unknown person in the gym three weeks before the fight.

» The energy drink contained methylhexaneamine and Mdletyeni maintains he did not know what the drug was and that it was a prohibited substance.

» Mdletyeni says he consumed the pill out of desperation because his camp was not prepared to postpone the fight and his knuckles had to heal urgently.

» Mdletyeni fails to provide the name of the physiotherapist he initially went to for help and maintains he does not know him nor does he know his contact details.

» Mdletyeni explains that he obtained a three-year BSc health promotion degree at Walter Sisulu University. The disciplinary commission is puzzled as to why a “bright guy” could be so ignorant.

» Mdletyeni points out he did not feel guilty for failing to disclose the little white tablet(s) in the doping control form that he filled in as he did not know they contained prohibited ingredients.

» Mdletyeni’s evidence regarding the number of tablets he consumed contradicts his coach’s testimony.

The verdict

» Mdletyeni banned for four months for the stimulant methylhexaneamine and 15 months for diuretic furosemide. These periods run concurrently.

» BSA immediately strips Mdletyeni of his title.

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