Zola Budd camp considers legal route against Comrades decision

2014-07-18 00:00

ZOLA Budd’s manager Ray de Vries is considering legal action against the Comrades Marathon Association and KwaZulu-Natal Athletics.

Less than two months ago, Zola Budd (Pieterse) was once again the darling of SA sport after she finished seventh in the Comrades Marathon women’s race, winning a gold medal and breaking the seven-hour mark.

The ugly dispute is all about an age category tag that has eliminated Budd (48) from winning the women’s veteran (40-49) category as she failed to display the tag on her running vest.

De Vries is fuming, ready to fight her case. “The race protocol manager, Celi Makhoba confirmed Zola was eliminated from the veteran category for not wearing age tags. Zola has not received official notice of the disqualification,” he said.

Comrades race director Rowyn James explained: “There is a difference between exclusion and disqualification. That last word has people jumping up and down. The rules of the tags were clearly outlaid in the race’s final instructions.”

De Vries argued that the results have been changed on the Comrades website and Australian Tina Major, now first, also never displayed age tags.

“Officials apparently disqualified a number of age group runners for not wearing the cloth tags,” he said. “No formal notice has been given of any such disqualification from the race results.”

James countered: “The matter resides with the chief race referee. I am working closely with him to make the results official. At the moment, they are provisional.

“I am studying photographic evidence of the prospective category winners to determine if they have followed the age tag rule. Major looks dicey and could also be eliminated.”

James added his objective was to expediate the right results and have them made official by the end of the month.

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