Mamabolo cleared of doping, now ‘someone has to pay’

2013-05-01 00:00

COMRADES Marathon 2012 champion Ludwick Mamabolo was over the moon yesterday after being cleared of doping in last year’s race.

But celebrations will be put on hold as Mamabolo focuses his energies on training ahead of defending his title during this year’s up run.

Mamabolo tested positive for methylhexaneamine following last year’s down run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban which he won.

“The next race is on June 2 and I’m training for that,” he told The Witness. He thanked God and said he was happy that events had unfolded the way they did.

His uncle, coach and manager, Jerry Ramohlale, said “Team Mamabolo” was relieved at the outcome.

“When the allegation was made that he had used a performance-enhancing substance, we were totally against it … Today it was found beyond reasonable doubt that he did not use a banned substance [before running the 2012 Comrades Marathon],” he said.

Ramohlale said Mamabolo’s positive test and Team Mamabolo’s name being “dragged through the mud” could have been politically motivated.

“Maybe the race was not meant to be won by a South African. Maybe it was not meant to be won by somebody sponsored by a particular company, or somebody coached by a family member. What is important now is that the case has been won, and someone will have to pay for dragging our name through the mud. We are going to follow all the legal processes to make sure that no stone is left unturned.

“Team Mamabolo has made it through all of that. Our boy is innocent.”

The case against Mamabolo has lasted 11 months. The first hearing was held in early December last year. At the time advocate Gilbert Marcus SC, for Mamabolo, said there were too many mistakes with the process when his client was tested after the marathon, and he pointed out 14 irregularities to the tribunal that investigated the matter.

Among the irregularities were that the officials who supervised the urine tests were not accredited by the SA Institute for Drug Free Sport (Saids); incorrect procedures were followed when Mamabolo was told he would be tested; and he was left unsupervised for 10 minutes before the test was conducted, which was contrary to regulations.

Marcus was quoted as saying: “Mr Mamabolo is the victim of a botched system which, with respect, was rotten from start to finish.” In an unprecedented move Mamabolo was allowed to return to competitive running in February so that he could earn an income and prepare for the 2013 Comrades. It was the first time that any South African athlete had been allowed back into competition prior to the finalisation of the doping case against him.

It has been estimated that Mamabolo’s legal costs over the past year would have exceeded R1,2 million had Johannesburgbased attorney Trevor Boswell, of Werksmans Attorneys, not offered to take the case on a pro bono basis.

Yesterday, Saids CEO Khalid Galant would not comment on Mamabolo’s victory.

“I’ve just received the decision that he has been found not guilty this afternoon. I’m currently reading it now and I will issue a statement tomorrow,” he said.

Attempts by The Witness to get comment from Comrades spokesperson Delaine Cools, general manager Gary Boshoff and chairperson Peter Proctor were unsuccessful.

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