Comrades winner Mamabolo may face two-year ban
The Comrades Marathon Association on Tuesday confirmed Mamabolo tested positive for the methylhexaneamine – a stimulant commonly found in certain training supplements.
“The onus rests with the athlete to prove if they ingested the substance knowingly or overtly,” Dr Shuaib Manjra, chairperson of the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAIDS) told the Mail & Guardian.
Mamabolo became the first South African to win the Comrades since 2005, when he won this year’s 89km down run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in 5:31.03.
Mamabolo will now have to face a SAIDS-sanctioned but independent tribunal consisting of an attorney, a sports administrator and medical professional to explain how the substance entered his blood stream.
Methylhexaneamine, often used as a nasal decongestant, is classified as a “specified substance” on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. Any athlete guilty of ingesting the stimulant in preparation or during competition faces varied punishment.
“It falls within a special category of stimulants that could result in either a two-year ban being handed down to the guilty athlete, or a reprimand - depending on extenuating circumstances,” said Manjra.
He would also lose his Comrades title and be forced to pay back all prize monies.
The Comrades Marathon Association said it was “disappointed” and “shocked” at Mamabolo testing positive.
“We have always frowned upon anyone using banned substances, and if this is the case then the law must run its course. However, Ludwick, like anyone else, has the opportunity to explain his actions, so we will not necessarily pronounce judgment until then,” Peter Proctor, chairperson of the Comrades Marathon Association told the M&G.