Lydia Jele has come under fire after violating an anti-doping rule by training at the National Stadium. By so doing the athlete was violating rules that were set when she was slapped with a ban in 2017.
Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has since written a letter to her club, University of Botswana (UB) Athletics Club raising their concern. It is alleged that Jele entered the stadium for training in June and July.
“This is in breach of her suspension as the ineligibility means that she is not supposed to be involved in any athletics activity or access any athletics facility,” the BAA letter reads in part.
“In accordance with the disciplinary proceedings by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) under International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Anti-Doping rules, Jele is prohibited from participation in athletics or entering any athletics facility.” BAA vice president, Oabona Theetso told Mmegi Sport they wrote a letter to UB club because they wanted them to intervene since Jele is their athlete.
“Jele is not allowed to train at the National Stadium during her ban. We have notified her club,” he said. UB team manager, Kefentse Monare said they have responded to BAA letter and there are some issues that they want clarified.
“As a club, we do not have the details of the AIU judgement that was passed against Jele. We do not know what she is allowed to do or what she is not allowed to do. But we have spoken to her about the incident,” Monare said.
The 400m athlete’s suspension ends next year. Monare said the challenge was that judgement was handed down during the previous committee’s tenure and the current BAA office bearers do not have the full details. Monare said the 30-year-old accessed the stadium because she felt that her ban was about to end. “She was not aware that she was violating an anti-doping rule. She was just trying to get in shape and normally she does that when other athletes have left.” He added the challenge is that in Botswana, when an athlete is banned, they are discarded and they are not
“It is only that our athletes are driven by passion if that were not the case, they would quit. There is no support at all. Jele holds some qualifications but athletics is her life,” he said.
If authorities deem there was a violation, Jele would be summoned for another hearing.
“If found guilty of additional Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs), she could be given a longer sanction. I think what is currently happening is a question of lack of understanding of the anti-doping regulations on both parties,” said an athletics official speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official said BAA should have explained all the rules to the athlete in line with the World Anti-Doping Code and World Athletics Anti-Doping Regulations.
“The athlete should be educated on the matter as well as her obligations during the period of ineligibility,” the source added.
According to Article 10.12.2 of the 2015 WADA code which expires on December 31, 2020, as an exception, an athlete may return to train with a team or to use the facilities of a club or other member organisation of a signatory’s member organisations during the shorter of the last two months of the athlete’s period of ineligibility.
Jele was suspended from athletics after her urine sample was found to contain banned substances.
A panel at the Sport Resolutions, Specialist Independence Dispute Service, which comprised Jeffrey Benz, Christopher Quinlan and Dr Anik Sax, concluded that the analysis of the sample showed the presence of a metabolite of metandienone. The substance is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2017 Prohibited List.
The panel said it was each athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters their body. Jele said in her affidavit that she took a sip from her husband’s water bottle. The husband only admitted that he had been taking a Dianabol, after she had tested positive.