Comrades winner fails drug test

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COMRADES Marathon winner Ludwick Mamabolo has tested positive for drugs – the second such finding in the event’s history – the SA Institute for Drug Free Sport (Saids) said yesterday.

Mamabolo, who won the 89km ultra-marathon between Pietermaritzburg and Durban on June 3, tested positive for methylhexaneamine, Saids said in a statement.

Saids chief executive Khalid Galant said the sample had been sent for further analysis to the doping control laboratory in Cologne, Germany.

Mamabolo was the first South African to win the annual race since Sipho Ngomane in 2005.

Galant said banned stimulants like methylhexaneamine gave athletes a heightened sense of awareness, energy, and euphoria, and could mask fatigue levels in long-distance races such as the Comrades.

According to Saids, Mamabolo could face a two-year ban and be stripped of his title if found guilty.

If Mamabolo is stripped of the title, another South African, Bongmusa Mthembu, who finished second, will replace him as this year’s winner.

According to Galant, another runner also tested positive for a high testosterone level.

Mamabolo has the option to have his B-sample tested. “The B-sample is a 30ml sample of the original sample,” Galant said. The sample is divided into A and B at the time of the test. The two samples are independently sealed at this stage. The B-sample is only opened at the request of the athlete. He may provide a witness to the opening of the B-sample.” – Sapa.

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