Magakwe scandal shocks athletes

Cape Town - South African 100m sprinter Simon Magakwe has gone to ground following his two-year ban from the track after he allegedly refused a dope test in December but whispers continued at the South African Championships being held in Stellenbosch this weekend.

According to the supersport.com website, Magakwe, who became the first South African to break the 10-second barrier when he stopped the clock at 9.98 at the SA Championships last year, reportedly refused to give an out-of-competition test and the IAAF subsequently charged him with a doping offence.

Exact details of the incident or hearing held in January have not been made available by the IAAF or Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Magakwe has not commented on it either.

Fellow athletes have expressed shock, but not sympathy.

“I was really shocked when I heard the news, but it’s one of those things,” said fellow sprinter Akani Simbine. “People make their own decisions and the ball was in his court. Every time someone is suspended, it’s a lesson to all of us. You must be clean.”

Earlier last month, Simbine – South Africa’s leading prospect in the sprints after running a 10.06 in Potchefstroom last month – spoke of his excitement at the possibility of racing against Magakwe, but alas it was not to be.

South Africa’s other top sprinting prospect, Anaso Jobodwana, refused to drawn on the subject but offered up his first reaction.

“I was shocked but I don’t have any thoughts on it. Ja, hey…” he said after qualifying for the semifinals of the 200m.

Earlier this week, ASA President Aleck Skhosana said they accepted the IAAF’s ruling.

“The rules are international,” Skhosana told the Associated Press. “The rules must be observed.”

No official comment has been made since.

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