Cape Town - The
Comrades Marathon is world-renowned as an ultra-marathon challenge and has
attracted more than a few cheats over the years.
these have been runners who got lifts in vehicles along part of the course
between Pietermaritzburg and Durban or even used “substitutes” to run sections
for them. But doping offences have also taken place among the elite runners at
the famous race.
ninth-placed woman Martinique Potgieter tested positive for a stimulant and a
diuretic - athletes generally use the latter to mask the former. Potgieter
pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted a two-year ban.
African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) chief executive officer
Khalid Galant revealed that the agency had collected 20 doping control samples
at the 2014 Comrades. Only Potgieter tested positive.
Comrades Marathon attracts the world’s best ultra-distance runners and offers
considerable prize money: it is vital that the integrity of the results is
beyond question,” said Galant.
“Elite competitors and potential podium
finishers can therefore expect that drug testing will occur at the
endurance events, marathon running is not immune to doping.
a total of 19 marathon runners have tested positive in South Africa for a range
of banned substances.
of the illegal stimulants found in these tests have been Methylhexaneamine and
Nandrolone. Methylhexaneamine is used mainly as a fat metaboliser or burner and
Nandrolone is an anabolic steroid.
the 19 runners who tested positive were found to have one of these two
substances in their systems.
SAIDS’s initiatives to combat doping in sport have been:
- developing and implementing a comprehensive drug testing programme
for all South Africa’s major sporting codes;
- providing education and information on the dangers and consequences
of doping;- promoting the spirit of sport by encouraging the values of Fair
Play- collaborating with African and other international anti-doping
authorities to ensure that anti-doping regulations are applied equitably
when international athletes train and compete on South African soil.
Play Fair – Say NO! to Doping campaign tackles doping in South African
sports and creates awareness around ethics in sport and anti-doping by
promoting healthy living and fitness. The campaign was introduced because of
the high levels of performance enhancing drug abusers within the South African
sporting community, especially school sport.
A number of
popular South African sports players have committed to this initiative,
including rugby stars such as Bryan Habana, the Team Bonitas Cycling Team and
swimmers Ryk Neethling and Natalie du Toit.
people backing the I Play Fair – Say NO! to Doping campaign are
promoting healthy living and fitness,” explained Galant.
“Our core values
are that, at whatever level you compete, your goals are only achieved through
hard work and perseverance. There is no magic powder or pill to achieving