SINCE testing positive after his victory in the 2006 Seoul International Marathon, South African marathon runner Gert Thys has emphatically and consistently denied taking any banned substances.
But after delaying his hearing process for nearly two-and-a-half years, and in spite of clear laboratory errors, Athletics South Africa (ASA) suspended Thys for two years and seven-and-a-half months (the exact amount of time it took them to conclude the hearing process).
South Africa's athletics governing body also ruled that Thys was to forfeit his prize money from the Seoul race in 2006.
Thys, the South African record holder in the marathon, appealed the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the highest sports arbitration tribunal and a hearing was held before CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland on May 11.
The CAS arbitration tribunal has now completely upheld Thys's appeal, according to a statement released by the marathon runner's legal counsel, Howard Jacobs.
Thys was exonerated of any doping infraction and is eligible to compete without any further testing.
The prize money, income and benefits derived from his victory in Seoul will not be forfeited.
And it was ruled that ASA must contribute 13000 Swiss francs (R94000) towards Thys's legal fees within 30 days.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old South African runner Warren Hendricks raised the SA flag high and gave one of the best performances of his career when he won the 800m race at a Finnish Savo Games meeting in Lapinlahti on Saturday.
Hendricks's time of 1min:47,73sec, his first win in Europe, was further proof of his talent.
He ran a well-judged race to defeat Kevin Hicks of the United States (1:48,19) and other athletes from America and Scandinavia.
It was his second fast time in three days after he clocked 1:48,48 when finishing second in a similar Finnish meeting in Joensuu last Wednesday. - Sapa