Comrades winner’s B-sample tests positive

Mamabolo, whose A-sample tested positive for methylhexaneamine after he won the 89km ultra-marathon in Durban last month, would face a hearing on a doping charge, Saids CEO Khalid Galant said in a statement on Friday.

"Now the process to constitute a hearing will proceed and a date will be set where Mamabolo will be afforded the opportunity to defend himself against the charge of doping," Galant said.

Galant explained that the B-sample test, which is a 30ml sample of the original sample of the athlete, is a confirmation test to confirm the result of the A-sample.

"The majority of athletes who are charged with a doping offence, waive their right to a B-sample because it adds more time to the process in getting to a hearing," he said.

But he said that all athletes who test positive have the option to have their B-sample tested to ascertain a confirmation of the A-sample result.

"The athlete's sample is divided into A and B samples at the time of the test being performed," he explained. "The two samples are independently sealed at this stage and the B-sample is only opened at the request of the athlete."

"The athlete is also required to witness or authorise a representative on his behalf to witness the breaking of the seal of his/her B-sample," he added. "The analysis of the B-sample took place at the South African Doping Control Laboratory in Bloemfontein. Mamabolo was present in Bloemfontein and witnessed the breaking of the seal of his B-sample.

Other tests

Thirty-five-year-old Mamabolo was tested after he completed the Comrades on June 3 2012 along with the other top 10 finishers in the men's and women's categories.

As reported on June 19, an additional runner in the 2012 Comrades marathon also tested positive for a high testosterone level, but, according to Galant, the other athlete's result required further investigation to confirm that the elevated testosterone level is either an anti-doping rule violation or a medical condition.

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.

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.

If found guilty would lose his Comrades title and be forced to pay back all prize monies. – Sapa

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