HomeSportAthleticsMamabolo overshadows Muzhingi

Mamabolo overshadows Muzhingi


THREE — TIME Comrades Marathon winner Stephen Muzhingi has been overshadowed by defending champion Ludwick Mamabolo ahead of the massive race in two ways, a Cape Town-based online website Competitor has claimed.


Competitor yesterday claimed that “all eyes will be on Ludwick Mamabolo when the 88th Comrades Marathon is run on Sunday — unfortunately not only because he is the defending champion, but also because he tested positive for a banned substance at last year’s race.”

This has dwarfed Muzhingi who last year came out sixth owing to pre-race confusion following the hospitalisation of his wife the day before the race. If Muzhingi had won last year, he would have been the first since Bruce Fordyce in 1984 to triumph four times in a row.

He had to be content with placing sixth, one second short of 7 minutes behind Mamabolo.

After almost a year of legal wrangling, Mamabolo was recently found not guilty because of “technical irregularities” in the testing procedure. The race, the world’s largest ultra-marathon, is an “up” run this year from coastal Durban to Pietermaritzburg (670m above sea level) and will be 86,96 kilometres (54 miles) long. A total of 19,722 athletes have entered.

Eight of last year’s 10 male gold medalists (top-10 finishers) will be on the starting line again. The only two absent are Russian Leonid Shvetsov, who won in 2007 and 2008 (both in course record times) and is injured, and Lephetesang Adoro (Lesotho), who, like Mamabolo, tested positive for a banned substance and whose case — as far as is known — has not yet been resolved.
At last year’s Comrades, which Mamabolo won in 5:31:03 (the slowest winning time since 1995) to become the first South African winner since 2005, he returned a positive test for the banned substance methylhexaneamine. Although his “B” sample confirmed the presence of the substance and he never denied using the drug, he was cleared a few weeks ago on technical grounds.
Apart from Muzhingi, three other prominent Zimbabwe athletes Fred Kashiri, Marko Mambo and Collen Makaza will also participate.

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