Family stands by Comrades winner
THE family of Ludwick Mamabolo, the 2012 Comrades Marathon champion, said they were shocked to learn that their son had tested positive of a banned substance that led to him winning the gruelling race on June 3.
"We are shocked at the sudden turn of events but not taking the allegations lightly," said Jeremiah Mamabolo, Ludwick's father.
The school teacher said he did not believe his son could take any drug-related substance.
"But we hope everything will be cleared after the final results have been released."
The runner, according to the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport chief executive Khalid Galant, had tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine. If found guilty by a tribunal, the 35-year-old could be stripped of his title, lose the R300000 prize money and face a sanction ranging from a warning up to a two-year ban from the sport.
Mamabolo has, however, maintained his innocence. He corroborated his father's statement that he had never taken any bannedsubstances.
Said his father yesterday: "My son has been running all these years. If indeed there was something he was using, we could have picked up something suspicious that would convince us that he was using stimulants."
The father said his son was a devoted member of the Zion Christian Church .
He said he spoke to his son shortly after the news of him testing positive emerged and that Ludwick too was shocked.
"Ludwick worked very hard to win the Comrades Marathon this year. He came second in his first race in 2010 and nothing was probed. Now that he had sacrificed his job and trained to win the race there are issues. Could that not be about the fact that he is black?" asked the father angrily.
The runner's coach, Jerry Ramohlale, said Mamabolo did not have a history of taking any banned substances.
"Look at the times he clocked from 2010 until this year, there is no 10 minutes difference. The only substance he needed was three months' unpaid leave to reduce the time he clocked in 2010 to the one he did a year later since it was a downhill. That reduction needed discipline only," said Ramohlale.
Meanwhile, the office of Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale, which had given Ludwick "something" to cover up for the money lost in the three months", said it would only comment after the case against him had been finalised. - firstname.lastname@example.org