A very sad ‘first’ for South African athletics

Dylan Bettencourt

South African sprinter Thando Dlodlo has been retrospectively banned for two-and-a-half years after testing positive for testosterone.

Dlodlo was part of the South African relay team that won the gold medal in Poland last May in the World Athletics Relay Championships. The other members of the team were Akani Simbine, Gift Leotlela and Clarence Munyai.

The South Africans emerged victorious by a margin of 0.01 seconds ahead of their Brazilian counterparts. 

However, due to Dlodlo’s drug suspension, South Africa has for the first time in its history been stripped of a gold medal. 

He received the suspension after one of his samples showed what the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids) called “the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or makers in the athlete’s sample”. 

Dlodlo would have received a four-year ban if he didn’t plead guilty.

The sample was taken from Dlodlo last April during the South African National Championships several months before he was due to take part in the Tokyo Olympic games. 

The 22-year-old was omitted from South Africa’s 4x100m relay team in Tokyo for unknown reasons. The team failed to make it past the first heat during the games, not finishing in the top two teams during the qualifying rounds. 

The prize money South Africa were due to receive for the first-place finish was withheld, pending the outcome of the case regarding Dlodlo, according to TimesLIVE

Dlodlo’s suspension will run from 29 June 2021 until 28 December 2023. 

Image source: @AZSportsImages


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