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Makwala runs rings around doping officers

Former 400-metre African champion, Isaac Makwala is literally giving Doping Control Officers (DCO) a run around, and has been described as difficult to deal with.

The athlete gained worldwide fame in 2017 following a solo run at the World Championships in London, but DCO say Makwala has been difficult to deal with.

At one point the athlete reportedly locked himself in a bathroom when the officers wanted to take his samples.

This week he flew out to South Africa where he was due to take part in the inaugural Grand Prix meet in Pretoria yesterday and a meeting with the athlete has now been ordered.

The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has been roped in to talk to the athlete regarding his attitude towards anti-doping tests.

Mmegi Sport is in possession of a letter from DCOs to the region’s Anti-Doping Office and the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) complaining of Makwala’s behaviour.

The letter, written on February 20, 2018 states that: “As per the instruction from the RADO office to conduct tests on particular athletes, the team has managed to carry out sample collections from other athletes without any challenges.

 “As usual, we still have issues with Makwala who carries on with his unprofessional behaviour towards the Doping Control Team,” reads the letter.

“He (Makwala) locked himself in the bathroom and told the chaperone not to disturb him. Whilst in the bathroom he passed on the sample, and my thinking is that he wants to delay the process or have the doping team impatient with the process (sic),” the letter further reads.

“Kindly advise on the way forward as he is a professional athlete who is aware that after notification, the chaperone needs to see every move he does and he cannot pass a sample without a chaperone accompanying him as this would delay

the sample collection process.

 “I believe we have been lenient with verbal warning that your office provided to him in past instances.”

The matter was referred to the Africa Zone VI Regional Anti-Doping (RADO) manager, Andrew Kamanga. The regional office acknowledged the need to act on the matter.

“I have copied my principals on this matter and I will be consulting with them on this matter. This is not the first time the athlete has shown belligerent and disrespectful behaviour towards Doping Control Personnel during sample collection in Botswana,” the RADO office responded.

In an interview, Kamanga said the DCO faced challenges when they tried to collect samples from Makwala two years ago.

 He said the matter was dealt with after they spoke to the athlete.

 “I was informed by the DCO that it was not easy to deal with Makwala. We had to talk with the athlete and he agreed,” he said.

Kamanga claimed he was not aware of the latest incident, but said if an athlete refuses to cooperate, it is a violation of anti-doping procedures.

Mmegi Sport is reliably informed that the BAA wanted Makwala to attend a meeting with Anti-Doping officers this week, but Athletics South Africa requested that the athlete be allowed to compete at the Grand Prix, held yesterday. 

“He has been given a condition that he should come back as soon as he finishes,” a source said.

BAA secretary general, Raymond Phale said they want Makwala to deal with the matter as soon as he returns from South Africa.

Phale said they are concerned about the athlete’s behaviour.

No immediate comment could be obtained from Makwala as he was unreachable at press time.




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