Bongmusa Mthembu, the KZN athlete who came second in this year’s Comrades Marathon, said last night he had not been officially told that winner Ludwick Mamabolo had tested positive for Methylhexaneamine, a banned drug.
A circumspect and irritable Mthembu, 29, who comes from Bulwer, questioned how the media knew about Mamabola’s drug testing result, saying that he had been inundated with calls from journalists telling him that they had read statements and heard on the radio that Mamabolo had tested positive.
“I’m not in KwaZulu-Natal or in South Africa right now; I don’t know anything about the results,” he said.
The athlete said he didn’t know his own drug test results yet.
“Sometimes the results come back after six weeks, sometimes it’s after eight weeks. It depends on how many tests are being done, but it never takes longer than eight weeks,” he said.
Asked whether his sponsors had informed him about the issue, he replied, in an agitated tone: “I already told you I don’t know anything, nobody has told me anything.”
He would not say which country he was visiting or when he would come back to SA, but stressed that he did not wish to comment on a matter that he had not been officially informed about.
After the race, Mthembu walked away with R160 000. Of this, R145 000 came from the Comrades Marathon Association for finishing second, and R15 000 from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sports and Recreation for being the province’s top athlete.
This incident will not have been the first time that Mthembu might be bumped up the top 10 Comrades finishers’ list.
In 2010, he finished fourth in the race but was elevated to third place after Sergio Motsoeneng was disqualified for a doping infringement.
Motsoeneng tested positive for the prohibited substance, Norandrosterone, a metabolite or precursor of Nandrolone, which is an anabolic steroid.
Motsoeneng and his twin brother, Arnold, were also disqualified in 1999 for switching places en route, and he was banned for five years. Pictures showed the brothers wearing their watches on different wrists.