Cape Town - The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) have issued a statement following the doping ban handed down by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to South African wheelchair tennis star, Lucas Sithole.
The ITF issued a two-year ban for Sithole on Wednesday from all forms of competition for two years, as a result of an anti-doping rule violation under Article 2.4 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.
The two-time Grand Slam champion was charged with missing three drug tests in a 12-month period (on February 12, May 22 and June 25, 2019).
Under Tennis Anti-Doping Programme rules, players are required to be available for one hour every day for out-of-competition tests.
Sithole admitted to the charge and stated that family emergencies were the reasons for his unavailability. The triple-amputee’s suspension took effect from September 30, 2019, the date on which he last competed.
Acting SASCOC president, Barry Hendricks said it disheartening that Sithole would not be able to compete, especially with the Parlympic Games in Tokyo coming up this year.
“This decision comes at a crucial time with seven months to go to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Lucas Sithole has performed well over the years and it is disheartening that he will not be competing in any competition for the next two years which affects his career adversely," said Hendricks.
“As the National Paralympic Committee we have met with Tennis SA and are encouraged with their support programme during the period of his suspension” added Hendricks.
Sithole will be eligible to return to competition on September 30, 2021.