South Africa’s Fastest Female Sprinter Handed Provisional Doping Ban
South Africa’s Carina Horn in action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

South Africa’s fastest female sprinter Carina Horn has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance, the IAAF’s Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Monday.

Concise News reports that Horn, who last year became the first South African woman to run the 100 metres in less than 11 seconds, tested positive for Ibutamoren and the anabolic agent LGD-4033, according to the unit.

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“The AIU confirms a provisional suspension against South African sprinter Carina Horn for the presence of a prohibited substance, a violation of the @iaaforg Anti-Doping Rules,” a statement on Twitter read.

Ibutamoren, also known as MK-677, is reputed to boost growth hormone levels while LGD-4033 is used to increase muscle mass.

Provisional suspensions are mandatory under IAAF Anti-Doping rules following an adverse finding for any non-specified substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned list.

Horn, 30, clocked 10.98 seconds in Doha this year to set a new national record and reached the 100m semi-finals at the Rio Olympics.

She was expected to be part of South Africa’s team at the world championships in Doha, which starts on September 27.

Horn is yet to be charged and will have a chance to defend herself against any charges via an official Anti-Doping process, including a hearing conducted by an independent panel.

Zazini to miss World Athletics Champs

In related news, Africa’s and South Africa’s fastest 400m-hurdler, Zokwakhana Zazini, would not be competing at the IAAF World Championships in Doha due to a foot injury.

Last week the Tuks-athlete was in so much pain that he was not able to run at all. According to Lucinda Pienaar (coach), an MRI-scan revealed that his right foot was severely bruised.

“It is not a serious injury. If there were a chance that ‘Soks’ could medal at the World Championships, we would have considered risking it. But we had to be realistic. For him to have any chance of qualifying for the final, he would have had to dip under 49 seconds running close to his personal best of 48.73s.

“Mentally, at this stage, it is not possible. ‘Soks’ himself admitted that it would have been challenging to be focussed when in pain while he warms up to compete.

“Prof Martin Schwellnus of the University of Pretoria’s Sport Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Institute (Semli) also advised ‘Soks’ not to compete. Saying that if he did, there is a real risk of him aggravating the injury, which means his rehabilitation will take longer. It should be remembered that next year’s Olympics is less than a year away.”

Up to now, Zazini has been one of this season’s big success stories in South African athletics.

The 19-year old is at the moment Africa’s fastest 400m-hurdler. One of only two athletes on the continent to dip under 49 seconds. Lindsay Hanekom (Tuks) is the only other athlete to do so.

Zanini’s time of 48.73s with which he won the silver medal at the World Student Games in Napoli ranks him among the top 15 fastest athletes in the world. Equally impressive is that he had improved his best time in a mere eight months by nearly 0.60s. At the end of last year, it was 49.32s.

Another highlight this season was finishing second in the 400m-hurdles during the South African Senior Championships in Germiston.

Pienaar said his current injury might yet turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

“‘Soks’ need to get physically stronger as he is quite skinny, but there has never been time for him to do quality sessions in the gym as he was continually racing. Now we have got time to work on it. There are a few other aspects of his training that have been neglected.”