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Strange excuses for doping

Botswana athletes continue to field outlandish reasons following failed drug tests or their evading of routine tests. STAFF WRITER MOSIMANEGAPE TSHOSWANE observes that although the cases are growing ever more precarious in the country, the athletes rarely confess to the doping itself.

Athletics is a sport often beset by doping scandals and cases of Batswana stars now provoke internal cross- examination. Athletes always find obscured reasons to deceive their counter parts, but at the end, the most exotic reason that always comes out is that of cheating.
Throughout the world, ever since drug testing was introduced 15 years ago, various athletes gave weird reasons after failing drug tests. Moreover, others came out with strange explanations when they appeared to be hiding from the routine testing.

There was the cyclist who argued his positive test was down to a vanishing twin he had absorbed in utero; the high jumper who suggested he had been set up by a bitter rival and the sprinter who explained his testosterone levels were high because he had had a lot of sex with his wife the previous evening.

Locally, two female athletes who eventually failed the test claimed ignorance of the banned substances found in their samples.  Amantle Montsho, the multiple 400m champion argued that she was not aware that the energy drink she ingested on the eve of her race contained banned substances, while Lydia Jele contended that it never crossed her mind that the body building drugs she took with her alleged partner will land her in trouble. Apparently, her ‘lover’ is a star of this body building trade.

Oddly, two other local male runners have been the centre of attraction for allegedly evading this interval drug cross checking. Firstly, it was the country’s first Olympic medallist, Nigel Amos, who information later proved that he was intimidated before the matter was left to fall off. Amos, too, argued that he was not hiding anything while all other medical examinations later revealed that the 800m runner had a clean bill of health.

Now, the country is almost quivering at the thought that Doping Control Officers are trailing unrelenting behind Isaac Makwala, the 200 and 400m champion. He is said to be playing hide and seek and risking a charge of refusal to cooperate. Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Chairman Solly Reikeletseng is of the view that Botswana has produced professional athletes who should know how to conduct themselves.

He argues that if a professional athlete is seen to be running away from doping agencies stern action has to be taken in accordance to the law. “Yes, I agree that the issue of doping is now becoming a disturbing matter for our athletes, but I know for sure that, our sports bodies are doing a sterling job in as far as training of these athletes is concerned,” he continued, “the problem now lies with the athletes themselves.”

At the time of going to print, another sports body, the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) was preparing to release yet another name of an athlete who was caught on the wrong side of these banned substances. Like many others before him, it is claimed that the athlete was not aware of the danger coming when consuming the said drink.

Nobody has challenged the accuracy of the testing mechanism, but what remains challenging is the story often told by athletes themselves when defending themselves. On the balance of probability, it is still going to be harder to understand for sure if they are telling the truth. It is science against oral theory.

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