Mattheus feels sorry for Mamabalo.

2012-06-20 00:00

AMONG previous Comrades athletes found guilty of doping is 1992 winner Charl Mattheus, who tested positive for a banned substance. He later went on to win the race in 1997.

Mattheus feels sorry for Mamabalo.

He said there was a big difference between forbidden stimulants and steroids.

“People can take stimulants by accident, but not steroids.”

Mattheus tested positive for phenyl-propanolomien, which was later removed from the list of prohibited substances.

He had bought medicine for a throat infection “over the counter” only days before the marathon.

“I paid with my blood and title and I hoped that other athletes would make sure that they would not drink stuff that is not safe before the marathon — and during the marathon,” Mattheus said.

His offence remained a stigma, even though five years later he completed the marathon in a great time of 5 hours 28 minutes and 37 seconds after a fierce duel with Nick Bester.

Mattheus had been suspended for three months, which at the time was the highest penalty for a banned substance.

He now lives in the United States where he is busy with a doctorate in health care management administration at the University of Florida.

Other disgraced Comrades athletes include Herman Matthee, who finished in the top 10 in 1998, but was later stripped of his gold medal after video footage showed he had caught a taxi along the route, cutting out almost 40 km of the race.

In 1999, the Motsoeneng brothers caused a stir when they cheated their way into the top 10.

Sergio halfway during the race replaced his brother Fika — not his twin as is often said. The alarm was raised when the runners who were behind him couldn’t recall being overtaken.

In photographs, they were seen wearing watches on different arms.

After Sergio had served his five-year ban, he tested positive for doping in 2010 having finished third. He is now serving a two-year ban. — Witness Reporters and Sarel van der Walt.

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