Ann Ashworth celebrates after corssing the finish line at the Comrades Marathon. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Ann Ashworth, winner of the 2018 Comrades marathon, is facing a plethora of charges lodged against her by Athletics South Africa (ASA).

Ashworth is no stranger to controversy with ASA now hitting back after the athlete’s criticism of the federation. The 2018 winner has since confirmed the receipt of a charge sheet, which when broken down from three charges, contains as many as nine accusations.

"I will be strongly defending all charges which are purely an attempt to bully and intimidate me. This is their way of keeping me quiet,” Ashworth told local media outlet Times Live.

The disciplinary action, which could see her banned from the sport, appears to be a direct result of the athlete’s refusal to take up her spot in the national team selected for the world 100km championships.

“Thanks @ASAathletics but until you actually start doing something to assist road runners in our country with funding and other support I’m not happy to compete in SA colours,” Ashworth tweeted at the time.

Ashworth is now due to face accusations of bringing the sport and ASA into disrepute. ASA also claim that Ashworth competed in the Comrades without proper paperwork. Also among the alleged infringements is an allegation of pacing after it appears that her husband, David, was running alongside her for periods of the Comrades making her “guilty of pacing/seconding or receiving physical assistance”.

This despite no official complaint lodged after the race. The strength of ASA’s case is yet to be established with a number of the statements lacking explanation.

Africa News Agency (ANA)

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