Mamabolo to get his prize money and medal

2013-05-04 00:00

LUDWICK Mamabolo received a letter of judgment from South Africa Institute of Drug Free Sport (Saids) late this week clearing him of drug allegations. Yesterday he received confirmation that he will receive the R300 000 first prize money and gold medal from the Comrades Marathon Association for his 2012 win.

Mamabolo was initially presented with the winner’s trophy and his gold medal on the Monday following the 2012 down run. A few days later he was provisionally suspended due to an adverse anti-doping test.

On Monday, after a case that has lasted about 11 months, the 36-year-old athlete will be re-presented with the prizes at Comrades Marathon House for being the victor and the first South African finisher, plus age group incentives.

In their judgment, Mamabolo was identified by the Saids panel as an honest witness, whereas three of the Saids officials were found to be unreliable, and significant documentation and the report failed to represent the happenings of the day.

The extent of the errors in protocol and procedure was sufficiently substantial that the panel concluded that they could not be sure that the sample tested was Mamabolo’s.

“This [decision] means the world to me to know that my name has been cleared,” Mamabolo said.

Asked if he would be suing for loss of income and damage to his reputation, the Limpopo runner said that his focus was not on the money, but running and the sport.

“Wake up South Africa, wake up Saids. This [anti-doping] is supposed to protect not only the race, but the athlete. Hopefully people will take note of what has happened and correct these failings so that other athletes will not be persecuted in this way,” the runner added.

He acknowledged that without the pro bono support of attorneys at Johannesburg’s Werksmens, estimated at over R1,5 million, the discrepancies would never have been brought to light and he would never have been able to fight the allegations or clear his name.

With over 15 material deviations to Saids and international sampling protocol in Comrades 2012, questions are being raised over the standards applied in previous events.

Yesterday Mamabolo returned to Limpopo to focus on his preparation for the 2013 Comrades up run on Sunday, June 2.

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