Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
14 Apr 2015
11:49 am

Comrades runners disqualified for cheating

Wesley Botton

A total of 14 amateur athletes have been disqualified from the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Comrades Marathon for not covering the full race distance, KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) confirmed on Tuesday.

Picture Thinkstock

The provincial body said 20 people, including five international participants, had been charged with offences related to rule 240.1 after allegedly failing to complete the full official course at the annual 89km race.

Of the 20, six runners had provided “ample evidence” that they had not cheated and were cleared, with the race organisers admitting fault.

“The runners had bailed out and waited for the official bailers’ bus which picked them up but, instead of taking them off the course, dropped them on the course inside the fenced area which forced them to walk across the finish line,” KZNA said in a statement.

“They had refused to take the medals at the finish and notified officials. Their names were, however, never removed from the results and this created the suspicion of cheating.”

The 14 other runners were disqualified and removed from the official results after either admitting to cheating or failing to appear for a disciplinary hearing.

They were ordered to return their medals, and those who failed to do so by the end of this month would not be allowed to run this year’s event, an ‘up’ run between Durban and Pietermaritzburg on May 31.

“This has been an arduous and time-consuming disciplinary process, as participants need to be given the benefit of the doubt, as well as the opportunity to present their case, but we are confident that we have completed the exercise having followed all required processes,” said KZNA president Sello Mokoena.

“We are committed to protecting the integrity of the Comrades Marathon and continually improving upon the high standards of South Africa’s most prestigious race.”