Mamabolo to face tribunal

2012-07-14 00:00

THE 2012 Comrades Marathon doping saga gathered momentum yesterday with the news that the B-sample of winner Ludwick Mamabolo has tested positive.

The South African Institute for Drug-free Sport (Saids) confirmed the finding in a statement yesterday after Mamabolo had tested positive for the banned substance methylhexaneamine when he won the 89 km ultra-marathon last month.

Mamabolo will now stand before a hearing facilitated by an independent tribunal of three or four appointed arbitrators, and will be given the opportunity to defend himself.

Khalid Galant, CEO of Saids, told Weekend Witness yesterday that a date for the tribunal had not yet been set.

“We are hoping to have the tribunal in the next two to three weeks,” he said.

Gallant added that if Mamabolo was found guilty he and any other implicated parties would be given the opportunity to appeal the decision.

“There is an existing framework that would be used to decide on the penalty that was passed, if any penalty is passed at all,” said Gallant. “It could range anywhere from a warning to a two-year ban.”

The tribunal would also be responsible for deciding on whether Mamabolo is stripped of his winner’s medal, he added.

What was supposed to be a result worthy of celebration — Mamabolo is the first South African to win the marathon in seven years — is now likely to be remembered for the wrong reasons.

But president of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics Sello Mokoena doesn’t see it that way.

“These things happen in sport,” he said. “If you look at the international standards of how often doping occurs in sport, I don’t think the rate is high in the Comrades.”

Mokena pointed out that this was only the second time that the use of illegal substances had plagued Comrades — the first being in 1992 when winner Charl Mattheus was disqualified.

If Mamabolo is stripped of his winner’s medal, then Pietermaritzburg’s Bongmusa Mthembu will be named the winner of the 2012 Comrades Marathon.

“No prize money has been handed out to any of the runners yet,” said the Comrades Marathon association’s Delaine Cools. “But for now, we have to play a waiting game. We will need to see what the outcomes of the tribunal are before we move on anything.”

Mamabolo was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

• sport@witness.co.za

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