Tjoka sues over suspension

Tjoka sues over suspension

MASERU- Leading Lesotho distance runner ‘Mamoroallo Tjoka has filed a lawsuit in the High Court of Lesotho against the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC), Regional Anti-Doping Organisation Lesotho, Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) and South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport challenging the provisional suspension handed to her by the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport on May 7 for violation of anti-doping rules.

Tjoka filed the lawsuit on Monday.
All the organisations have been listed as first, second, third and fourth respondents respectively.

Tjoka was supposed to appear in front of a disciplinary hearing yesterday in Rosebank, South Africa. She has asked the court to interdict the LNOC and Regional Anti-Doping Organisation Lesotho from proceeding with the hearing pending the outcome of the case.

Tjoka has also asked the court to declare the fourth respondent – the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport – to have no authority to provisionally suspend her for the purported violation of its anti-doping rules because they have no application on her.

She wants the suspension from competing in any authorised sport by any amateur or professional league handed to her by the fourth respondent on May 7, 2019 to be declared unlawful, null and void.

Tjoka has also asked the court to declare the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport to have no authority or jurisdiction to summon her to appear before its disciplinary hearing in South Africa to hear the alleged violation of its anti-doping rules.

The case will be heard in the High Court on July 15.
According to ‘Mamakoa Majoro, who filed a supporting affidavit in the lawsuit, last year on October 7 members of the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport together with Thabo Tšoaeli from the Anti-Doping office of the LNOC arrived at Majoro’s place and introduced themselves and told her they were looking for Tjoka to collect her samples for anti-doping tests.

She said she told them Tjoka was not in her house at that time and that Tjoka had left for South Africa the previous day.

Majoro said their behaviour was discourteous and utterly disrespectful in that they assumed she was hiding the applicant in the house.

“The said Tšoaeli accused me of hiding the applicant and threatened me with criminal prosecution as he alleged it was an offence for me to have hidden the applicant, he even unlawfully entered the house and searched for the applicant,” Majoro said in her supporting affidavit.

In her affidavit, Tjoka says on the same date – October 7, 2019 – she was in South Africa to participate in the Spar Women’s Race that was to be held at Emmarentia Park when the events fully set out in the affidavit of Majoro played out.

She says it appears the representatives of the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport came to her residence at the invitation and in collaboration with Regional Anti-Doping Organisation Lesotho who are cited as the second respondents.

Tjoka says she later received a complaint from the fourth respondent alleging that she had evaded testing in contravention of their anti-doping rules.

She denied evading the test and the South African Institute for drug free sport decided to charge her with breach of the anti-doping rules adopted by it and modelled on the WADA rules.

Tjoka said the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the charges preferred against her and to require her to go to a foreign country in respect of violation allegedly committed in Lesotho.

Affectionately dubbed Lesotho’s marathon queen, Tjoka was slapped with a two-year doping ban in 2015 after testing positive for a banned substance after the 2014 High Altitude Summer Marathon.
She returned to action in early 2017.

Tjoka is a record five-time winner of the Soweto Marathon and competed at the Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012.

Tlalane Phahla

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