Lehata banned

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Moorosi Tsiane

THE 2015 Athletics African Championships silver medallist, Mosito Lehata, has been banned from all sports for five years following two anti-doping rule violations.

Although it only came to light this weekend, the ban was effected in June this year by the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS).

SAIDS banned the 32-year-old after his March 2021 participation in the Free State Provincial Championships where he tested positive for banned substance, Salbutamol. He was also charged and convicted for attempting to tamper with the doping control process.

A statement from SAIDS also showed that Lesotho’s 100m record holder (10.11) pleaded guilty to both charges and waived his right to a hearing by entering into a results management agreement. The agreement resulted in his punishment being reduced.

“A five-year sanction from all sport was given to the Lesotho Amateur Athletics (LAAA) athlete, Mosito Lehata, following two anti-doping rules’ violations prosecuted by SAIDS,” the statement reads.

“Lehata tested positive to Salbutamol and was charged with attempted tampering with the doping control process.

“Lehata admitted to the charges and waived his right to a hearing. He entered into a ‘results management agreement’ that resulted in a reduction in his sanction. His period of Ineligibility began on 9 June 2021 and will run until and including 8 June 2026.”

Lehata allegedly used an anti-asthma drug, salbutamol, which is considered “a prohibited beta-2 agonist” by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) unless inhaled to a maximum of 1600mg over 24 hours “in divided doses not to exceed 800mg over 12 hours”.

“In other words, the presence in urine of salbutamol in excess of 1000 ng/mL is not consistent with therapeutic use of the substance and will be considered as an adverse analytical finding (AAF) unless the athlete proves, through a controlled pharmacokinetic study, that the abnormal result was the consequence of a therapeutic dose (by inhalation) up to the maximum dose indicated above.”

On his Facebook page, Lehata has already apologised to his fans. He said he had made a mistake and he would learn from it.

“Every action has a consequence, whether it in intentional or unintentional. I have been in athletics for 14 years and I am proud of everything that I have accomplished. I made one mistake in 14 years and I have to pay for it. (I) took asthma medication and it got me into trouble.

“For those who I have disappointed, I apologise to you. For all the young athletes coming up, you don’t have to make the same mistakes I have made, learn from my mistakes. Always be careful what you take. Basotho, you have been so supportive for more than a decade. Thank you,” reads his post.

Attempts to get further comments from the athlete were fruitless this week as his phone was unavailable while his messages could not go through.

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