Athletics

Comrades stars caught in doping storm

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Comrades Marathon (File)
Comrades Marathon (File)

Cape Town - Two 2015 Comrades Marathon top-10 finishers face the possibility of losing their gold medals for doping offences.

Port Elizabeth’s Sandile Ngunuza will appear before an Independent Anti-Doping Tribunal hearing after tests at the event revealed presence of banned stimulants in his system. Ngunuza finished ninth in this year’s Comrades.

Sixth-placed Joseph Mphuthi, from Frankfort, ran the Comrades in spite of being provisionally suspended after testing positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone at the Loskop ultra-marathon in 2014. The 40-year-old’s Anti-Doping Tribunal hearing was held on July 8 this year and the decision has not yet been announced.

Ngunuza, 32, was found to have traces of oxilofrine and methylhexanamine in a urine sample taken at the Comrades. He requested that his “B sample” be tested and the result was confirmed. He will now face a hearing.

 Stimulants are generally used by athletes on the day of competition to improve performance, while anabolic steroids are normally used to build muscle.

 SAIDS has revealed that it tested several Comrades Marathon athletes before and on the day of the event. The top 10 men and women finishers were all tested on the day.

Leading up to May 31 this year, SAIDS had carried out 25 doping control tests on South African athletes and 18 on foreign competitors.

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