THE Africa Zone VI Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO) board says Lesotho’s image could be gravely soiled and its ability to host major games if the trend of athletes taking sporting federations to court continues.
RADO said the country’s standing in the international sporting community could also be negatively affected with other grave repercussions.
The anti-doping body said this in its recent letter to Sports minister Mahali Phamotse. The letter was written on the back of a High Court case launched by marathoner Mamoroallo Tjoka against South African Institute for Drug-free Sport (SAIDS), Lesotho National Olympics Committee (LNOC), RADO and Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) early this year.
Tjoka launched the challenge to overturn her suspension from participating in any national or international sporting activities for allegedly evading a doping test in May this year.
SAIDS alleged that its representatives along with those from RADO visited Tjoka’s Sekamaneng home in Maseru intending to conduct a doping test but the athlete allegedly fled.
This was the second involving a local athlete after Bantu midfielder Tsoanelo Koetle also refused to take a doping test in October 2017.
It was against this background that RADO wrote to Phamotse expressing its concern over the state of affairs.
“The RADO board and its partners have noted with great concern the second High Court case lodged by a Lesotho athlete when subjected to due processes in terms of anti-doping rule violations (ADRV),” the letter reads.
“This is a serious matter which reflects disregard for rules and regulations that govern participation and competition in various sport codes in line with internationally established protocols.”
The letter also warns the minister that should this trend continue, it will seriously harm Lesotho’s image and in the process hamper its ability to host major games. The country is preparing to host the 2020 Africa Union Sport Council (AUSC) Region 5 Games and the African Youth Championships in 2022.
“If this trend continues, it will seriously affect Lesotho’s image and standing in the international sporting community and the country’s ability to host major games, amongst other grave repercussions.”
RADO added that the minister should sensitise the athletes about the need to respect sports rules and regulations before approaching the conventional courts.
“We therefore humbly request that Lesotho sports people, athletes and officials be sensitised about the need to respect sports rules and regulations before appealing to the local courts of law. If the athletes and officials are aggrieved by any decision taken in sport, there is the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) based in Switzerland where sports disputes can be adjudicated and resolved.
“We trust the Honourable Minister together with her officials at the ministry, LNOC and LSRC will find a way of addressing this matter before it gets out of hand. Together with our colleagues at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), we are prepared to advise and provide appropriate support in this regard,” concluded the letter.
Phamotse could not be reached for comment this week as her mobile phone rang unanswered.