Comrades cheat bust, KZN now third

2010-07-22 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S Bongmusa Mthembu looks set to be promoted to third place in the 85th Comrades Marathon following a positive drug test against Sergio Motsoeneng.

An announcement from the Nedbank Team management, celebrating the promotion of 11th placed Peter Muthubi into the top 10, stated that they were informed that Motsoeneng tested positive for an illegal substance in his post-race drug test and will be disqualified.

At the time of writing, no formal announcement had been received from Athletics South Africa assistant administrator Richard Stander, but the Comrades Marathon Association acknowledged that it is aware of the situation and is awaiting documentation.

Mthembu (27), who was fourth across the line, will be the first runner to be moved up with everyone following him also benefiting from an upward shift of one position. He was the first KZN runner to finish the race, earning his second gold medal after coming seventh in 2009.

The drug test may contribute to explaining Motsoeneng’s amazing performance. He took one hour and 41 minutes to reach Camperdown where he was still outside the top 50. By halfway, he had moved up to 36th position and he then climbed to 12th by Winston Park (58km). He entered the top 10 before Cowies Hill and finished in a remarkable third — only 29 seconds behind second- placed Ludwick Mamabolo.

This gave Motsoeneng the fastest and most prolonged charge among the elite runners and one of the greatest negative splits in the race.

The Free Stater, running in the colours of the Discovery Club, is no stranger to cheating, having been banned from the sport for five years in 1999 when he and his twin brother Arnold relayed their way down the Comrades route to claim a gold medal. Had they not worn different coloured watches, they may have gone undetected.

Comrades Marathon officials have become more vigilant over the years, with a local official saying that around a dozen runners in the mid and back pack have, or will be, disqualified for cheating. Some runners ran only the first and last sections of the route; one runner wore two chips to gain a finish for his father-in-law; and others passed on their numbers and chips to others.

The Comrades 2010 top 10 will be: 1 Stephen Muzhingi ZIM F1, 2 Ludwick Mamabola Mr P, 3 Bongmusa Mthembu Mr P, 4 Fanie Matshipa Toyota, 5 Fusi Nhlapo Mr P, 6 Claude Moshiywa MrP, 7 Petros Sosibo Mr P (40), 8 Peter Molapo Nedbank, 9 Leboko Noto LES, 10 Peter Muthubi Nedbank.

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