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Comrades 2012 Drug Cheaters

by on August 3, 2012

The Comrades 2012 Positive Drug Tests

 ImageMe as a person, I really do not like complaining about things, I prefer to just get on with it. A former hockey coach of mine once said at a team meeting at half time, when we were all complaining about the refereeing decisions from the first half, “Guys suck it and stop whining,  CONTROL THE CONTROLLABLE.”  So it is this that I take to most things I do.

There is one thing that really pisses me off, and that is blatant cheating in sport. This comes about as yet another top 10 athlete at the Comrades Marathon has been named as being found guilty of a doping violation.  This is the second person from the same race in the same year. Comrades Marathon is not named the “Ultimate Human Race” for nothing. It is probably the toughest running race in the World, and this is what makes anyone running this race, be it in 5H30 or 12 hours an incredible athlete. Comrades marathon has always had a very good record in terms of not having doping violations every year.  

This second test is actually making a mockery out of the sport as well as showing that these athletes that tested positive are actually not that bright. On the entry form it clearly states that winners will be subjected to drug testing and results and or payments will only be made upon finalization of the results from these drug tests. So what did these clowns think they were going to do, GET AWAY WITH IT!

Yes there were rumors in the past that current record holder Leonid Shvetsov used banned substances, but that is exactly what it is rumors, he was tested and came out clear.

For the most part I have sat on the fence and was prepared to give guys the benefit of the doubt, but here are the simple facts

Ludwick Mamabolo won the race and was tested and the first test was positive. He requested the second test, and this too was positive. Yes, the process that was followed by SAIDS was incorrect in leaking his name and result to the media before following the correct due process.   So they say oops, sorry and then keep the second athletes name under wraps until the process was followed correctly. Yes I feel sorry for Ludwick that he wasn’t given the opportunity to defend himself before the results were made public, and yes I do think that someone must be fired at SAIDS for this mistake. As with any major issue in a company, when it does badly or there is such a glaring fault, generally the CEO, MD or Chairman gets to swing for the issue. So in this case is the SAIDS CEO going to be fired or will they actually mention or make public how the complete disregard to the privacy of the athlete was violated?


Now they are going to have a tribunal and then only announce what the final verdict is to be for Ludwick and the athlete from Lesotho.  Which as far as I am concerned is just pathetic to say the least. So Ludwick will say, “ah sorry I didn’t know that the supplement I took had a banned substance in it.” When all he had to do was read the label that said, “not to be taken by professional athletes that may be subjected to drug testing, contains WADA prohibited substance.” Who cares what a tribunal will say, the bottom line is the athletes ran the race and the tests results are there and they are positive, so disqualify the athletes and then let them get on with their lives, and then pay the athletes out that actually ran the race fair and square.  How can any tribunal even question the test results? Why should everyone else be inconvenienced because the guy wants to prove he didn’t do it, when the tests are POSITIVE?  This cannot be changed; there is nothing else to be done on this matter!

The athletes that were caught must go and answer why they did what they did, and take their punishment. So everyone else must now sit and wait so we can then see what ban or ban they do or don’t get before the results are made final, and athletes paid out. Which is just flipping stupid?

What I am hearing is that there is an opportunity that because the process that was followed was incorrect from SAIDS, that the case can be dismissed and not used as a true result. How can this be – It was there in the athletes system on race day.

There was an article which I read on where Ludwicks father commented that his son had sacrificed a lot to try and win the race over the last 12 months. It is to this comment that one has to think, that he was so eager to win that he was prepared to go to any lengths. He even commented on the lines that his son was a victim of racism. I mean what crap kind of comment is that! Father, your son is a good athlete as I have said on may occasions as he has the record to back this up, but this time he did something wrong and was caught.

One has to question Ludwick as well, going out and getting a firm of attorneys to represent him, for what? The test result is positive and does he actually want to win the race by knowing that he had the drugs in his system, and trying to have the case thrown out on a technicality because SAIDS stuffed up the process. He should simply walk away and sue SAIDS on a separate note for this issue.  If his case is chucked out and he is still declared the winner of Comrades 2012, he will never be able to run a race comfortably again, as all athletes and officials will always look at him in a bad light.

Man up Ludwick, and simply acknowledge that you made a mistake and walk away from it. People will respect you more for this than trying to overturn an already guilty charge on a technicality.

As for the guys from Lesotho , same thing!

As for the punishment – If you are found testing positive, simple LIFE BAN should be imposed. A strong message needs to be sent to clear up our sport.


Food for thought in closing

Many races don’t test due to the expense, but lets look at this – Leading up to big races you see athletes winning many of these races easily, but come the big race day where there is testing, these athletes start the race but never actually feature at the end – WHY?  Are these guys all using substances to assist their performance so that they keep their pro club retainer contracts but cannot actually go and win the big races as they will be found out.

Question: Surely the likes of the Pro Clubs should test their athletes prior to race day? I can tell you that if I owned a club I would do this, simply to save the embarrassment and negativity of an athlete testing positive.

For me as a manager – Simple, I supply the correct supplements to my athletes and all my athletes when signing with me sign a document stating that they do not and have not ingested any banned substances, and secondly that if they are found to have a banned substance in their system at any time that I can cancel my contract with immediate effect as well as sue them for damages.


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  1. mthoko permalink

    fair comment craig,any body found guilty should receive a serious ban,these guys should come up and face the consequences.

  2. Cuan permalink

    So if a pro club has 50 contracted athletes on their books (which they do have) and you are telling them to test their own athletes (which SAIDS should be doing) where are the funds going to be found for this? Each test is around R4500, and thats just a basic urine test. Multiply that by 50 athletes and you are looking at around R225 000. Its just not possible

    • I agree that this is very costly, but how does one look after your brand, and the massive expense that a pro club will go through to pay these 50 athletes. Lets use Ludwick example: MRP pay him a good retainer per month, yes one can argue he got the mielage for MRP and exposure but now there is this thing hanging around.Its not fair to the club that has invested in him, and I am sure there will be repercussions from the club.

      I dont have all the answers, but what does one do to stop this type of thing? I do think that ASA needs to look at this and maybe have a thing like the IAAF top 30 list, At least by doing this we as South Africans can protect our own image in running.

      I am open to suggestions and as people that are passionate about this sport if we come together and say enough and or come up with the right suggestions maybe we can do our thing and change some things for the better.

  3. Cuan permalink

    True but at the end of the day it shouldnt be up to Nedbank, Mr P Sport, Bonitas etc doing the job that SAIDS is supposed to be doing. Money doesnt grow off tress. I think this whole fiasco has left a bit of egg on SAIDS from the way things were handeled to suspended officials testing athletes who shouldnt have even been there! Someone at SAIDS needs to do some explaining

    • I do agree again Mr Walker. But I do think that the clubs should have some sort of protection measure for their own good.

      Yes and I do think that someone needs to swing at SAIDS for this Fiasco, someone should be FIRED over there. They were happy to jump the gun and name and shame, Maybe they should actually send out an apology for starters as to the way the handled things as well as name the person from them who put it out there.

      Hence me saying that maybe ASA should look into a top 30 list and do random tests like IAAF does.

      Theres enough money around it just needs to be channeled in the right directions at a ASA level.

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