Doping scandal points to need for tighter regulations

2012-06-21 00:00

COMRADES Marathon hit the headlines yesterday with the announcement of two positive doping results, but this may only be the tip of the controversy.

The naming of the athlete to the media before the athlete himself was notified would seem to be directly in conflict with IAAF rules, and expectations that the identity of positive tests are kept confidential until the B test and an initial hearing have been completed.

The stimulant identified in the case has been at the core of other cases, including those of some national rugby players, so some potential (or proven) sources are known and perhaps there will be questions as to why national athletes in all sports have not been notified of potentially risky products and suppliers.

Irrespective of the outcome, the case is likely to highlight the need for regulation and testing of sports supplements, which is something that the medical control council have been attempting, but failed, to introduce since before the turn of the millennium.

The second testing anomaly has largely been brushed over, presumably because there was no name attached and that is the way it should have been.

That said, the fact that a high level of testosterone was detected has opened speculation that this could impact on the women’s results as there are no top-end levels for testosterone for men, but rather abnormalities in proportions compared with other hormones in the cascade.

It is not clear why the South African Institute for Drug-free Sport opted to name one athlete and not the other, which is certainly an unusual step.

Although the leading SA athletes are continuing to perform and achieve top positions on the European track and field circuit, it seems that the majority of London hopefuls are leaving it to the very last minute to post the required qualifications.

For many this will be the African Championships in Benin, which commence next week and stretch into the first week of July.

Meanwhile, Thobani Chagwe won the Impendle Youth Day race in the almost pedestrian time of 38 minutes 4 seconds, which suggests that the course may have been longer than the advertised 10 km. Chagwe’s club mate and KZN team colleague, Siyabonga Nkonde, was second just over 100 metres adrift with Madadeni’s Bonginkosi Zwane completing the podium positions

Both Chagwe and Nkonde represent the province in track and cross-country teams and are well capable of faster times over the 10 000 distance.

Savages Puseletso Dladla was the unchallenged winner of the women’s race with a time of 50 minutes 40 seconds and almost a kilometre clear of Slindlile Chili, with Nonsikello Mbambo third.

The feature race this weekend is the Spar Ladies’ Race in Durban, which has already attracted close to the 17 000 limit for both the five kilometre and 10 km distances. The remaining few entries will be taken today through to Saturday at the Suncoast Sunzone. Runners can also collect their numbers at the same venue from 10 am to 5 pm today and tomorrow, and 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday.

The 10 km race starts at 8 am from outside the ICC on Walnut Road and the five kilometre at 8.45 am from the M4 Stanger Street adjacent to the Unisa Buildings. Participants are encouraged to park at the Workshop, ICC and Centrum parking areas.

South Africa’s three Olympian marathon hopefuls — Tanith Maxwell, Irvette van Blerk and Rene Kalmer — are among the elite runners who will tackle the fast, flat M4 and NMR Avenue course.

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