Another SA runner fails doping test
The improved performances by South African athletes locally and internationally have been spoilt by the news that yet another top athlete has failed a doping test.
Distance runner Thozama April (29) has been banned for two years after testing positive for a banned substance.
The news of April’s suspension was revealed at an Athletics SA (ASA) board meeting last weekend.
Chief executive of the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids) Khalid Galant said the Athletics Gauteng North athlete was tested after the 10km race at the Cape Town Marathon in September last year, where she finished third.
“The athlete tested positive for metabolites of nandrolone [steroid], phentermine [stimulant] and prednisone [glucocorticoid],” Galant told City Press this week.
Galant said April’s ban started from December 29 last year until December 28 next year because her sample was affected by a backlog in sample analysis at the doping laboratory last year.
“The 2014 backlog of samples was resolved at the end of February [this year]. Ms April also contested the doping charge and opted to have the confirmatory B-sample analysis. This process extended the timeline of the case before a decision was handed down,” explained Galant.
Meanwhile, irate ASA president Aleck Skhosana said April owed the athletics governing body an explanation.
“We are disappointed to say the least,” said Skhosana.
“She has been around for so long. It is important for athletes who chase big prize money in competitions to know better. Information on banned substances is freely available and accessible.
“In my view, the government must also regulate the substances that are supposedly energy supplements.”
Galant said Saids had a national anti-doping education programme that covered all the sports codes, including athletics.