FILE PHOTO: Ludwick Mamabolo wins the mens race during the 2012 Comrades Marathon on June 03, 2012. Photo by Anesh Debiky / Gallo Images

Johannesburg - Lawyers of Ludwick Mamabolo, the 2012 Comrades winner who subsequently tested positive for a banned substance, accused the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (Saids) of “serious irregularities” on Tuesday.

In a statement, Mamabolo’s high-powered team of lawyers said on Tuesday they had brought an application “requesting the adjudication panel to stop the disciplinary hearing because of a number of serious irregularities that took place during the urine sample collection process that occurred after Mr Mamabolo completed the Comrades Ultra Marathon on 3 June 2012.”

Mamabolo tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine, which, according to Saids CEO, Khalid Gelant, can give “the athlete a heightened sense of awareness, energy and euphoria and can mask fatigue levels in a race such as the Comrades”.

There has been much conjecture as to how this substance may have been ingested by Mamabolo, but his legal team said that the “what” had been negated by the “why”.

The process of taking a urine sample must be strictly adhered to, with witnesses for the athlete and Saids present to ensure this is followed. Mamabolo’s legal team said they had based their application for the ending of the DC on what they had heard from the Saids witnesses.

”It is important to stress that in making this application for a cessation of the disciplinary hearing, Mr Mamabolo's legal representatives relied exclusively on the evidence of SAIDS’ witnesses. No reliance whatever was placed on the aspects of their evidence, which will be disputed by Mamabolo if the application is unsuccessful and Mamabolo is required to give evidence.

“The evidence presented on the first day of the disciplinary hearing of Mamabolo established unequivocally that the entire testing process on the day of the Comrades 2012 was infected by fatal irregularity.”

The hearing lasted two days, beginning on Thursday last week with Saids leading the evidence. On Friday afternoon, Mamabolo’s team decided they had heard enough to suggest the process of collecting the urine was flawed.

“Counsel for Mr Mamabolo argued that, based on the evidence given by Saids’ witnesses, it was clear that the entire testing process was fatally flawed and which should result in a nullity of the test results. The Saids’ Anti-Doping Rules apply a principle of strict liability meaning that the athlete is guilty until proven innocent. If such a strict test is applied to Mr Mamabolo’s actions, then the anti-doping organisation (SAIDS) should be expected to apply its own rules meticulously.”

”Mr Mamabolo’s lawyers argued that this did not take place and in the circumstances, the disciplinary hearing should stop immediately (and the doping charges withdrawn) because to proceed with the hearing would increase the unfairness already suffered by Mr Mamabolo.”

The lawyers listed the irregularities as: “unaccredited person witnessing the production of urine samples for every male athlete that was tested for banned substances at Comrades 2012; unaccredited person witnessing the production of urine samples for every female athlete that was tested for banned substances at Comrades 2012; failure to comply with the requirements for the notification to be issued to an athlete that he/she has been selected for a drug test or for doping control; gap in supervision of Mamabolo after notification that he had been selected for a drug test; failure to conduct required background checks in relation to possible conflicts of interests; the majority of the persons who in fact chaperoned athletes selected for drug testing were not Saids trained or accredited; completion of the Athlete Log Forms; failure to report consumption of a beverage consumed by an athlete that was not taken from a fridge provided by Saids; all of the Athlete Log Forms were completed by Saids personnel yet not a single one of the Saids personnel played any role post notification in the process that followed; none of the DCOs were doctors as is required by the DCM; failure to Accurately Complete the Doping Control Form; complete lack of Control over the Doping Control Station; the hopeless inadequacy of the DCO Report; invasion of Athlete’s rights.”

Mamabolo remains suspensed until the adjudication panel has finished their proceedings. They are expected to make a decision in mid-January.

The Star