MARATHON winner Ludwick Mamabolo has been found not guilty after failing a drugs test following last year’s race. He has now been declared the official winner of the 2012 Comrades.
Nine-times Comrades winner, Bruce Fordyce, confirmed the news following a hearing on Tuesday.
Mamabolo tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine after he had won the annual 89km ultra-marathon in Durban last June. The athlete has always maintained his innocence and his legal team applied for the case against him to be withdrawn.
His legal team pointed out too many irregularities with the process when Mamabolo was tested after the marathon. These included that the officials who supervised the urine tests were not accredited by the SA Institute for Drug Free Sport.
He was also left unsupervised for ten minutes before the test was conducted which was contrary to regulations.
Trevor Boswell of Werksmans Attorneys, which handled Mamabolo’s case on a pro bono basis, said the athlete was found not guilty on Tuesday in a 60-page judgment.
“They found there was a system failure in the Comrades doping process,” Boswell said.
“We identified 14 or 15 irregularities in the sample process.”
In an unprecedented move in South African athletics, Mamabolo was allowed to return to competitive running in February in order to earn an income and prepare for this year’s Comrades Marathon, pending the outcome of the hearing.
Boswell confirmed Mamabolo would be defending his title in this year’s 89km race, an ‘up’ run between Pietermaritzburg and Durban on June 2.-www.sabc.co.za