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Zimbabwean athlete forced to forfeit R50 000 in prize money in South Africa

by Staff reporter
10 May 2022 at 07:43hrs | Views
ATHLETICS coach Lisimati Phakamile says it's devastating that long-distance runner Isaac Mpofu was disqualified on an administrative matter rather than a technical issue in Sunday's Durban International Marathon.

Mpofu crossed the finishing line first in the 42,2km race in a time of 2 hours 10.04 minutes, but was disqualified by Athletics South Africa (ASA) and forced to forfeit R50 000 in prize money for having one licence number.

Mpofu only had one licence number on the front of his vest, but had none on the back at the finishing line.

According to ASA rules, participants of the Durban International Marathon had to have two licence numbers on the day, one on the back and the other in front.

South African Tumelo Motlagale was the beneficiary of Mpofu's disqualification, as he was declared the winner after finishing behind the Zimbabwean runner in 2:11:15.

Zimbabwe team manager at the marathon Benson Chauke said they were given sealed race packs by the organisers and were told everything was in there and only discovered in the morning of the race that there was only one licence number.

"We informed the officials and they informed the race judge, who said we can compete like that and we were surprised to be stripped off the title because we had confirmed prior to the race and it was not our fault," said Chauke.

"I thought it was an exciting race and a great performance by Mpofu.

Unfortunately, we later saw the disqualification which l felt was an administrative issue rather than a technical one, which would have been easy to resolve.

We are pleased that the athlete managed to run under the World Championships qualifying time of which we are excited about.

It is yet to be confirmed if the disqualification also nullifies the time, but l am sure that will not be the case," said Phakamile.

"He clocked his personal best time after moving from 2:11:55 to 2:10:04.

We congratulate him for that.

I have had a chat with him.

He is a strong character although this is very disheartening.

He accepts such glitches do happen."

The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe has since appealed to ASA.

The athlete's South African manager, who had the task of sorting out the licence, is also working on the issue.

The Durban International Marathon also doubled up as the ASA National Championships and a star-studded line-up.

Source - The Chronicle
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