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Sun Apr 20 05:13:50 SAST 2014

Thipe blames team doctor after failing dope test

Sapa | 19 October, 2012 11:180 Comments
Tsholofelo Thipe
Image by: Richard Huggard / Gallo Images

Tsholofelo Thipe’s lawyer says the sprinter has waived the right to have her B-sample tested, laying the blame on the national team’s doctor after she tested positive for norandrosterone.

Thipe’s lawyer, Christian Krone, said in a statement on Friday that the athlete did not dispute the result after she failed a voluntary test at the African Athletics Championships in Benin in June.

“We confirm that we have indeed applied for a hearing,” Krone said.

Thipe believed, according to Krone, that she had failed the doping test after taking a contraceptive pill prescribed by the SA team’s doctor at the continental championships.

“At the time of competition in Benin, my client requested a contraceptive pill from the team doctor of Team South Africa,” Krone said.

“The team doctor prescribed a pill called ’Norlevo’, after which the team manager was sent to obtain such as pill.

“The team manager then returned with a different pill as he could not find the specific prescribed pill and he gave it to Tsholofelo.”  After receiving the pill from the team manager, Thipe had gone back to the doctor to confirm she could take it.

Krone had asked Athletics South Africa (ASA) to assist his client in ascertaining the exact contraceptive pill given to her in Benin to establish the basis of her innocence.

“Up to date we have not received any assistance from ASA in this regard,” he said.

Krone said they were considering legal action, on the basis of defamation, for comments made by ASA president James Evans in the media.

“ASA spoke to the media specifically with regards to Tsholofelo’s failed dope test, and in the same statement Evans made remarks to the media calling our athletes ’dumb’ and saying that ’they keep on using banned substances’,” Krone said.

“These defamatory and untrue remarks directly implicate my client and implies that she is dumb and that she has used banned substances on numerous occasions.”  Evans told Sapa on Tuesday that Thipe and Rapula Sefenyatso, a promising 200m specialist, were the latest among 10 SA athletes who had failed tests for banned substances this season.

“South Africa seems to have some of the dumbest athletes,” Evans said.

“They know that they will be caught, but they keep on using banned substances and making the same mistakes over and over again.”  Evans said athletes were taking supplements and substances without understanding what they contained.

“During the IAAF World Junior Athletics Championship in Barcelona (in July), we had a discussion with the athletes,” Evans said.

“We advised them not to use any substances. If they have to buy any medication, they should first get an expert opinion.

“The next moment one of the junior athletes is off to a pharmacy to buy some nose-spray.

“The pharmacist does not understand her and sells her something containing a banned substance. That is just stupid.”  Thipe was the first black woman to represent South Africa on the track at the Olympics when she competed in the 400m event at the Beijing Games in 2008.

Perhaps the country’s most versatile sprinter, she won the women’s 100m and 400m events at the 2009 SA Athletics Championships in Stellenbosch.

She then took time off from the sport for the birth of her first child but made a comeback this past season.

Bursting back in stunning form, she set the fastest times by a South African woman this year in the 100m (11.49 seconds), 200m (22.89) and 400m (51.52) events.

Thipe is trained by her husband Eugene Thipe, who also coaches SA men’s 100m record holder Simon Magakwe, a three-time finalist at the African Athletics Championships.

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