Ellina Mhlanga–Senior Sports Reporter
ONE of Zimbabwe’s top long-distance runners, Munyaradzi Jari, has become the latest local athlete to be found on the wrong side of anti-doping rules after he recently tested positive for a banned substance.
The Zimbabwean athlete tested positive for Drostanolone (M1), which is on the WADA prohibited list.
Jari faces a ban of not less than two years.
The seasoned distance-runner was tested after winning the Diacore Gaborone International Marathon in Gaborone, Botswana, on June 5.
Jari has been notified and is currently under provisional suspension.
Speaking to The Herald from Gaborone yesterday, the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO) manager, Andrew Kamanga, confirmed that Jari tested positive for a banned substance.
“Munyaradzi Jari was tested after winning the Diacore Gaborone International Marathon (on June 5). The samples were taken to the South African Doping Control Laboratory (SADoCoL) at the University of the Free State. The laboratory is duly accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
“Jari’s sample tested positive for Drostanolone (M1), which is on the WADA Prohibited List. Jari has been notified and given an opportunity to explain the origin of the Prohibited Substance found in his sample. He is provisionally suspended with immediate effect. He will be subjected to a fair and impartial results management process.”
Kamanga urged all stakeholders in the country to amplify anti-doping education efforts.
“There is need for all the stakeholders in Zimbabwe sport to enhance anti-doping education efforts. Promotion of Clean Sport is not the responsibility of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) alone.
“Even yourselves, as our media colleagues, can assist the ZOC and the Africa Zone VI Regional Anti- Doping Organisation(RADO) in promoting Clean Sport. The performance-enhancing substances pose a grave danger, not just to the integrity of sport, but most importantly to the health of the athletes.
“It’s sad! Our guys start off using their God-given talent and reaching for excellence. I just don’t know why they agree to be misled and start using dangerous drugs to enhance performance. Some of the substances have serious side effects because they are consumed without medical supervision.
“Some of our kids are collapsing and dying and we don’t know what is really happening. It’s so painful that promising sporting careers, which could have been extremely lucrative for the youngster, his/her family, the community and nation end up in disaster.
“We cannot give up but we have to continue to educate the athletes, their coaches, managers and even parents. There is the WADA Anti-Doping E-Learning Platform (ADEL) which should be utilised by all the stakeholders,’’ Kamanga said.
Previous cases that have emerged from Zimbabwe include that of footballer Devon Chafa, who was, in 2013, banned for six months by FIFA after he was found guilty of using a prohibited substance.
Traces of a prohibited substance were found in a urine sample taken after the Warriors’ World Cup qualifier against Egypt at the National Sports Stadium.
Former Zimbabwe cricket team captain Brendan Taylor last year admitted to breaching the ICC Anti-Doping Code.
Taylor tested positive for the stimulant Benzoylecognine, a cocaine metabolite.
It was one of the several charges that saw him getting a three-and-a-half-year ban from all cricket by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Jari’s case is the latest from a local athlete.
Board member representing Zimbabwe on the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation and Chair of the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation, Nicholas Munyonga, said the sentence is informed by the result management process.
“I think for starters, you will find that a provisional suspension is there to allow processes to take place, which are what we call the result management processes.
“And result management processes help in terms of making sure that all things have been looked at in terms of the athletes’ own submission, the disciplinary or the result management committee’s submission. They are all looked at to come to a dissemination.
“I don’t want to speak more in terms of the actual substance that we found and what that means but when the result management process is complete, it will then give us the actual sentence.
“In this case, there is a likelihood that the athlete will definitely be suspended for a period and that period will take consideration of the provisional suspension. So when the determination is made it will take into account the provisional suspension period that the athlete would have served.
“Depending on the suspension, there are only two periods that are now coming through. One is a period of two years and a period of four years depending on the substance.
“So from that perspective you will see that the athlete definitely will not escape those two when all things have been looked at. So I think we are looking at that length,” said Munyonga.
Munyonga said anti-doping education has been taking place in the country but underscored the need for athletes to take responsibility in ensuring they have as much information and seeking advice.
“Secondly, you will find that anti-doping education has been taking place being driven by the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee and also the Sports Commission and some sports national federations, they are also assisting as far as education is concerned.
“But what is key and important is for our athletes to be in a position to know that there is a strict liability principle that we always talk to them about.
“If they are professional athletes, they are to compete at international level it is their mandate to seek advice, (it is their) mandate to make sure they get as much information as possible.
“I know the teams are doing their level best to make sure that we assist athletes as far as education is concerned but there is quite a lot of expectation as far as the athletes themselves are concerned in this area of doping,” said Munyonga.
Jari is one of Zimbabwe’s top long-distance athletes and has represented the country in a number of international marathon races, mainly in South Africa.
Towards the end of 2020, Jari spent a number of weeks camping at Kapsait Nike Athletics Training Camp in Elgeyo Marakwet County in Kenya preparing to get a slot in the national team to the Tokyo Olympics but he failed to make the grade for the delayed Summer Games.
In fact, Jari has pitched camp at Kapsait in October 2020, fulfilling his dream of training with the world’s best distance runners at their home turf in Kenya.
Additional reporting by Sports Editor, Collin Matiza.