NAAZ appeal Mpofu’s Durban Marathon disqualification, blame ASA for license gaffe

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Isaac Mpofu crosses the finish line to win the Durban International Marathon before his subsequent disqualification last month

The National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (NAAZ) say they have lodged an appeal with Athletics South Africa (ASA) following the disqualification of long-distance runner Isaac Mpofu from the Durban International Marathon on Sunday.

Mpofu romped to victory at the 42.2km Durban International Marathon in a personal best time of 2:10:04 but was later stripped of the title for having one temporary license number. He had one license number in front but didn’t have one on the back of his shirt.

The 33-year-old Zimbabwean runner also forfeited the R50 000 prize money awarded to the winner.

Motlagale was subsequently elevated to the top of the podium, with the 35-year-old South African covering the 42km distance in 2:11:15.

ASA rules stipulate that all athletes should have two licence numbers one at the front and another on the back.

The decision leaves Mpofu’s qualification for the World Athletics Championships scheduled for Oregon, USA in July hanging in the balance despite the Zimbabwean bettering the qualification standard time of 2:11:30 during the Durban race.

However, NAAZ’s head of the national event coaches for the middle and long-distance runners, Benson Chauke revealed that they have since lodged an appeal with their South African counterparts against the decision to strip Mpofu off his title and they are still waiting for a response from ASA.

“We were given our race packs by the organisers and they were sealed and we were told that everything was in there and in the morning we discovered that there was only one licence number and 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,” he explained.

 

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