2012 Comrades Winner’s ‘B Sample’ Confirms Positive Dope Test

The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) has today announced that Ludwick Mamabolo’s B Sample confirmed the A-sample result for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine and that the athlete will face a charge of doping at an independent tribunal.

This is according to SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport CEO, Khalid Galant, who confirms that Mamabolo, who’s A sample came back positive when he was tested after completing the 2012 Comrades Marathon along with the other top 10 finishers, has been notified by SAIDS of the B sample result.

“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,” says Galant. “We have already initiated the process to set the date for a tribunal and Mamabolo and his legal counsel will be informed of the date and venue once it is confirmed.”

Galant clarifies 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 says.

However, he says that all athletes that 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 explains. “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 adds. “The analysis of the B-sample took place at the SA Doping Control Laboratory in Bloemfontein. Mamabolo
was present in Bloemfontein and witnessed the breaking of the seal of his B-sample.

Galant points out that a general timeframe to hand down a decision (sanction) emanating from a doping charge, from the time the athlete is notified of the charge to the tribunal decision takes approximately 3 months.

He says that because each case is treated on its own merits, some cases take longer to conclude due to adjournments or requests to present additional evidence in mitigation.

As per the guidelines of the World Anti-Doping Code, the anti-doping authority (SAIDS) may publicly release the names of the athlete who is informed of doping charges prior to the tribunal phase.

Galant says that this option is exercised where the nature of the event in terms of prize money, medal and play-off ramifications have immediate relevance.

“With regard to sanctions, because each case is treated on its merits, some cases sanctions may vary and may take longer to conclude due to adjournments or requests to present additional evidence in mitigation,” he adds.

The World Anti-Doping Code provides the framework within which the tribunal can deliberate their decision and hand down a sanction. If the athlete is not happy with the tribunal decision he still has the right to lodge an appeal against the tribunal decision.

35-year old Mamobolo was tested after he completed the Comrades on 3 June 2012 along with the other top 10 finishers in the men and women’s categories.

As reported on 19 June, 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.

“As per the protocol for testosterone cases, we have to rule out endogenous production of testosterone and any medical abnormality before releasing the athlete’s name,” he explains. “The sample has been sent for further analysis to the Doping Control laboratory in Cologne, Germany and we will be able to determine if the athlete tested positive for testosterone after the Cologne laboratory returns the result. Should the investigation reveal the result was due to an anti-doping rule violation, a charge will be filed against the athlete and the name of the athlete will be released.”

SAIDS is required in terms of the World Anti-Doping Code to publicly release it drug testing statistics together with a listing of athletes who have been charged with anti-doping offenses. This information is released every year in the SAIDS annual report. Last year’s annual report is available off our website and this year’s report (for the period 1 April to 31 March) is due for release in August.