It’s hoped Aphiwe Dyantyi’s hearing into a doping offence could be held in September, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
The 25-year-old is essentially fighting for his career after his mandatory B sample came back testing positive for three banned substances almost exactly a year ago.
The shock announcement also came just a couple of months before he was set to compete for a place in the Springboks’ World Cup squad.
Dyantyi, the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of 2018, subsequently released a statement in which he denied taking any banned substances, but has since been seeing out a provisional suspension from all forms of rugby, pending a hearing.
According to Khalid Galant, the CEO of the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAIDS), it was initially hoped that the hearing could take place in early to mid April, but there were delays caused by the closure of testing laboratories due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
This came after Dyantyi submitted a statement of defence in January, while also providing a ‘few supplements that he claimed could have been the source’.
SARugbymag.co.za now understands that a date in September is considered for the hearing to take place, although there are certain technicalities such as finalising the panel and expert witnesses that still need to be agreed upon.
A source close to Dyantyi also confirmed that plenty of time continued to be dedicated to the preparation for the hearing, which will finally offer an opportunity for the 13-cap Springbok to present his defence.
‘We have to develop a procedure and protocol for a virtual hearing and then the athlete‚ his counsel and the arbitrating panel have to agree because this virtual hearing is a new thing,’ Khalid said in an interview with the Irish Times at the end of June.
‘We can’t just say we are going to have a virtual hearing – we have to give the parties the right to accept it or decline it and make sure that witnesses are not compromised.’
Meanwhile, in a candid interview with Sport24 this week, Dyantyi opened up for the first time about some of the emotional turmoil he went through in the period after his positive finding became public.
‘I didn’t have social media in those quiet months – I just deleted everything. You go on your phone and it’s “Aphiwe this, Springbok that, World Cup this”, and at some point, I just couldn’t deal with it. It just got too much,’ he explained.
‘It was a way for me to try protect myself. That could have driven me to do anything … the worst. I withdrew because I felt that if there’s any chance of me surviving, I just needed to be by myself.
‘My family didn’t see me and I was probably holed up in the house for two months.’
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