Russian ultrarunner Natalia Volgina may be stripped of her Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon title and face a two-year ban after she has tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid metenolone following this year's ultramarathon on March 30.
If found guilty, Volgina, 36, will also lose her prize money of R250,000 (USD 27,500).
According to Khalid Galant, CEO of the South Africa Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS), 24 drug tests were done at the 56-kilometer Cape Town race which is always held the Saturday before Easter. "Only one test came back positive for a banned substance," he said. He added that SAIDS had notified the race organisers of Volgina's test result and that the IAAF and Russian Athletics Federation had also been informed.
Volgina can now request that her "B" sample also be tested, Galant said. The steroid found in her "A" sample is the same one that cost Nadzeya Ostapchuk (BLR) her Olympic shot put title last year.
"We are part of a global anti-doping network, therefore no international athlete competing in South Africa should think that they will not be tested," Galant said.
Shortly before the Two Oceans, Ludwick Mamabolo, winner of the 2012 Comrades ultramarathon, was cleared of a doping charge on a technicality and competed in the Two Oceans. Mamabolo, who returned a positive test for methylhexaneamine at last year's Comrades, is planning to defend his title on June 2.
Volgina won the Two Oceans in very windy conditions in 3:38:38, 1:19 ahead of Thabita Tsatsa (ZIM). She also won the race in 2002, but did not enter between 2004 and 2011. On the three other occasions she raced the Two Oceans, she finished second each time (2001, 2003 and 2012). She was also second in the Comrades Marathon, the world’s largest ultra marathon, in 2002.
If she is disqualified, all the runners behind her will move up one position. Tsatsa will be declared the champion and American Camille Herron, who finished eleventh in 3:53:12, will be awarded the last gold medal and win R10,000 (USD 1100).