Comrades Marathon Runner fails doping test at 2013 Race

Cape Town, 06 September 2013 – The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) has announced today that South African marathon runner Helga Matthee, who placed twelfth in the women’s category of the 2013 Comrades Marathon, tested positive for the banned Glucocorticosteroid, Betamethasone, and will face a doping charge at an independent tribunal on Thursday, 12 September 2013.

Helga Matthee tested positive in an in-competition test conducted by the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport at the Comrades Marathon on 02 June 2013.

“Matthee was given the opportunity to apply for a retro-active Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). A TUE application is submitted if the medication an athlete is required to take to treat an illness or condition contains a banned substance and no alternative medication that is not banned in sport is a viable therapeutic option. An approved TUE gives the athlete the exemption to take the medication for a legitimate medical condition,” says the Institute’s CEO, Khalid Galant.

Galant explains that Matthee’s TUE application was denied due to there being no compelling medical condition indicated by her physician for the specific use of the banned substance and that alternative therapies were not explored. SAIDS is then obliged to proceed with filing a doping rule violation and to allow an independent tribunal to rule on the matter.

“We have to stress that, it is the responsibility of the athlete and sports medical practitioners to be completely aware of what is permitted and what is not in order to prevent the athlete suffering the ignominy of a doping charge,” concludes Galant.