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SA set to lose World Relays gold medal after team member is banned for doping

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South Africa’s 4x100m team are set to be stripped of their much celebrated World Relays gold medal after sprinter Thando Dlodlo was handed a two-and-a-half year ban for doping
FILE – South Africa’s 4x100m team are set to be stripped of their much celebrated World Relays gold medal after sprinter Thando Dlodlo was handed a two-and-a-half year ban for doping. Photo: Facebook, Hoërskool Monument

South Africa’s 4x100m team are set to be stripped of their much celebrated World Relays gold medal after sprinter Thando Dlodlo was handed a two-and-a-half year ban for doping.

Cape Town — After a stunning victory by Team South Africa in the World Relays 4x100m race was celebrated across Mzansi last year, the gold medal is now set to be declared null and void.

That became a reality after sprinter Thando Dlodlo was handed a ban of two years and six months for “testosterone and its related compounds”, according to the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (Saids) website.

Saids noted on their list of athletes’ violations that Dlodlo had the “presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or makers in an athlete’s sample”.

South Africa's Thando Dlodlo, Tlotliso Gift Leotlela, Clarence Munyai and Akani Simbine celebrate winning the Men's 4x400 Metres Relay final in Poland
South Africa’s Thando Dlodlo, Tlotliso Gift Leotlela, Clarence Munyai and Akani Simbine celebrate winning the Men’s 4×400 Metres Relay final in Poland. Picture: Aleksandra Szmigiel, Reuters

The 22-year-old Tuks athlete had run the opening leg of the epic World Relays 4x100m final in Silesia, Poland last May, with Gift Leotlela following up in the second 100m, before Clarence Munyai grabbed the baton.

In a remarkable finish, sprint ace Akani Simbine dipped on the line to clinch victory in 38.71 seconds, ahead of Brazil in 38.72.

The South Americans were soon disqualified, though, for a technical infringement, along with third-placed Ghana, which saw Italy claim second spot and Japan third.

Now, with South Africa set to be stripped of their gold medal, Italy should be upgraded to first place, which means Olympic 100m champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs can claim another title.

Japan will then move up to a silver and Denmark a bronze.

In an ironic twist of fate, South Africa were beneficiaries of a doping violation in a relay event previously. At the 2001 world championships in Edmonton, Canada, Morné Nagel, Corné du Plessis, Lee-Roy Newton and Matthew Quinn finished second to the USA.

But they were later awarded the gold medal after American Tim Montgomery tested positive for a banned substance.

Dlodlo was left out of the SA 4x100m squad that lined up at last year’s Tokyo Olympics — he did not travel to Japan after being provisionally suspended — with Clarence Munyai replacing the injured Gift Leotlela, with Shaun Maswanganyi running the second leg, Chederick van Wyk the third and Simbine the anchor.

But disaster struck in the heats as Munyai and Maswanganyi got into a tangle with their baton change, and the SA team’s dreams of Olympic glory ended before it really began.

@ashfakmohamed

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