Drug-Free Sport Won’t Appeal 

Cape Town – 21st May, 2013 – The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) has announced it will not appeal the Mamabolo ‘not guilty’ verdict.

2012 Comrades winner, Ludwick Mamabolo, tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine when tested after he completed the Comrades on 3 June 2012.

The Mamabolo case is the first positive to result in a ‘not guilty’ outcome in four years. The SAIDS board unanimously accepted their legal counsel’s opinion not to exercise its right to appeal in the doping case of the 2012 Comrades Marathon winner, Ludwick Mamabolo.

“We acknowledge the judgement of the independent tribunal and take note of the areas that need to be strengthened in our testing procedures,” says Dr Victor Ramathesele, SAIDS Chairman.

He says that remedial action was implemented as soon as it was brought to light early on during the Mamabolo case. “As an agency that values the continuous process improvement principles of business, we did not wait for the decision of the Tribunal to implement changes,” he adds.

“We appreciate that clean athletes and sports entities have to have full confidence in the integrity of the doping control process and therefore our doping control procedures have to be robust enough to withstand any rigors when under scrutiny. Our systems have to be air tight in fairness to all athletes and so that we reduce all risks of post notification debates arising out of documentation and sample collection technicalities.”

While the report notes the difficulties experienced on the day contributed to shortcomings in the process of notification; chaperoning and the control of the Doping Control Station, thereport states: “When the hearing commenced Mamabolo tendered a plea of not guilty and placed on record that despite this plea, he did not dispute the following three issues: The chain of custody of the sample; The University of the Free State laboratory procedures; and the results of the ‘A’ and ‘B’ samples.”

At the conclusion of the Comrades 2012, SAIDS conducted 20 doping control tests, which included the top 10 finishers in the men and women’s categories. Lephetesang Adoro, who came 7th in the Comrades marathon also tested positive for the banned corticosteroid, Prednisone. However, according to Galant, his case falls under the jurisdiction of the Lesotho Olympic Committee or Lesotho Athletics governing body who will rule on the matter.

Educating Athletes on the Dangers of Doping

With regard to educating athletes on the dangers of doping, SAIDS CEO, Khalid Galant says that SAIDS has ramped up its awareness and educational efforts substantially over the last two years with the launch of its ‘I Play Fair. Say NO! to Doping’ campaign, aimed at spreading the message of ethics, fair-play and anti-doping in sport, which has been largely successful with many sportsmen and women and celebrities endorsing the message over the last year with over 4,000 putting their signatures to the anti-doping pledge.

“In addition, we are continually on the road at major sporting events where the SAIDS educational team gives presentations and distributes literature to athletes, coaches and managers face-to-face to educate them about the dangers of doping,” he explains.

The ‘I Play Fair’ initiative has been endorsed by the Department of Sport and Recreation and June is now officially recognised annually as I Play Fair – Say NO! to Doping awareness month.

Information is also available in the form of a newly launched free smart-phone application giving SA’s athletes, doctors and coaches access anywhere, anytime to the most updated drug information as to which drugs are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency to help ensure banned substances are not consumed by athletes. This list is also available in booklet format and on the SAIDS and WADA websites.

With the acknowledged use of steroids in schools, SAIDS is also busy implementing the schools anti-doping programme that will see targeted interventions at schools to ensure they are equipped to adequately deal with the enticement of doping.

“SAIDS has also published a position statement on the use of sports supplements to better guide our athletes and coaches in their decision-making which is available on the SAIDS website,” says Galant.

“We are also pushing for all sports federations to come on board, endorse the campaign and get involved with helping to spread the anti-doping message as the SA Rugby Union (SARU) has done,” he adds.