Montsho banned for two years

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The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has handed former 400m world champion, Amantle Montsho the maximum punishment after she was found guilty of taking a banned stimulant.

The ban effects from the day Montsho was suspended, which was soon after her race at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July 2014.

An A sample found traces of a banned stimulant, methylhexaneamine in her system and Montsho requested a B sample, which also returned positive.

BAA spokesperson, Roland Masalila confirmed the athlete had been banned for two years from date of infringement.

“The sentence came from the board which BAA appointed to look into Montsho’s matter. We sent their decision to IAAF,” Masalila said.

The decision was taken at the beginning of March and Masalila revealed the athlete was yet to appeal. It would cost the athlete US$20,000 (approx. P200,000) to lodge an appeal, which has been viewed as too steep.

The judgement means Montsho can only return to the track in July 2016, when she would be 33 years.

The ban is seen as a big blow to the ageing athlete’s career. She reportedly contemplated hanging up her spikes after the doping incident.

A source close to the developments said the heavy sentence is influenced by several factors.

“They might have considered that she is a senior athlete who was supposed to know better. If it was a young athlete still new to competitions, they could have been lenient.

“The length of the ban might also prove that the athlete failed to explain the origin of the substance. In her case, it was tricky because it was a supplement and she was supposed to do due diligence before consumption,” the source said.

Montsho has been Botswana’s leading athlete after she was crowned 400m champion in 2011, a year after she won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. She has several other titles under her belt and is a former Diamond League winner.

Montsho might want to appeal the ban in order to make it to next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro while on the other hand she might weigh her chances first before paying the hefty appeal fee.

Montsho had not responded to Mmegi Sport’s emailed questions at  press time.

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