Thipe’s lawyers challenge Athletics SA

2012-10-19 10:51

South African sprinter Tsholofelo Thipe’s legal representative has accused Athletics SA (ASA) of defaming the 2008 Olympian.

Thipe (25) tested positive after a banned substance, norandrosterone, was found in her sample after competition during the African Championships in June.

Attorney at law Christian Krone, of Wilkinson Attorney Conveyancer, has threatened the athletics governing body with a lawsuit for defamation.

The reaction follows ASA president James Evans’ comments two days ago that “South Africa seems to have some of the dumbest athletes. They know that they will be caught, but they keep on using banned substances and making the same mistakes over and over again.”

Said Krone via a statement today: “These defamatory and untrue remarks directly implicate my client and imply that she is dumb and that she has used banned substances on numerous occasions. We are also considering legal action on the basis of defamation.”

In his response, Evans told City Press: “The media asked if she (Thipe) had tested positive. We could hardly deny it. Not sure if they wanted us to cover it up. We are not going to do that kind of thing.”

The full statement by Thipe’s lawyer: “Following a dope scandal that broke this week, I confirm that Tsholofelo Thipe is charged with the contravention of anti-doping rules in that she returned a positive test result, after a voluntary doping test, for the presence of norandrosterone in competition at the XVIII Senior African Championships on 29 June 2012.

“Furthermore, Mrs Thipe waived the right to have the B sample tested and does not dispute the test result.

We confirm that we have indeed applied for a hearing.

“There is, however, a very good reason why the substance norandrosterone was found in Tsholofelo’s urine.

At the time of competition in Benin, my client requested a contraceptive pill from the team doctor of Team SA.

“The team doctor prescribed a pill called Norlevo, after which the team manager was sent to obtain such as pill.

The team manager then returned with a different pill as he could not find the specific prescribed pill and he gave it to Tsholofelo.

“Tsholofelo then took all reasonable steps to make sure that the substance she was about to use does not contain anything illegal in that she went back to the team doctor to confirm that she can take the contraceptive pill.

She then took the pill with the consent of the team doctor of Team SA.

“That is why my client volunteered for the doping test as she was not on the list of athletes that had to be tested at the time, she had nothing to hide and was confident that all substances she used were of a legal nature. She was also aware that the contraceptive pill would decrease her performance.

“Furthermore, it is well known that some contraceptive pills can lead to positive test results for nandrolone metabolites.

I have requested, however, that Athletics SA assist my client in ascertaining the exact contraceptive pill given to her in Benin to establish the basis of my client’s innocence.

Up to date we have not received any assistance from Athletics SA in this regard.

“It is also with regret that we have learnt about the manner in which the failing of the doping test was handled by ASA.

Although we understand that a incident like this cannot be kept silent and covered up we indeed take exception to the slandering way in which it was communicated to the media by ASA President Mr James Evans.

ASA spoke to the media specifically with regards to Tsholofelo’s failed dope test and in the same statement Evans made remarks to the media calling our athletes “dumb” and saying that “they keep on using banned substances”.

“These defamatory and untrue remarks directly implicate my client and imply that she is dumb and that she has used banned substances on numerous occasions.

We are also considering legal action on the basis of defamation.

Furthermore the principle should be maintained that anybody is innocent until proven guilty at a proper hearing.”

Christian Krone Attorney at law Wilkinson Attorney Conveyancer

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