Former Springbok and Sharks hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle has been handed an eight-year ban after testing positive for a banned substance last year.
Ralepelle tested positive for banned anabolic substance Zeranol during an out-of-competition random test at Kings Park in January 2019. His A sample urine tested positive, and he then exercised the right to have his B sample tested.
He has been given a 21-day period in which to appeal the ban.
‘The Independent Doping Tribunal Panel handed down its decision in two parts this week on the doping charge against former Springbok and Sharks rugby player, Mahlatse “Chiliboy” Ralepelle,’ a statement from the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport read.
‘The player tested positive for the banned anabolic agent, Zeranol, during an out-of-competition test on the 17th January 2019.
‘The athlete challenged the doping charge and was afforded the opportunity to seek legal counsel to present his case and version of events to the tribunal panel. The hearings were adjourned multiple times and were held over a period of six months. The panel reached a decision first on the merits of the case where they found the player guilty of a doping offence.
‘Ralepelle had previously tested positive on two separate occasions while playing overseas. The Zeranol positive case was his third positive dope test during his playing career within a 10 year period, however, the player’s first positive case was ruled a No Fault decision and he then received a reprimand. The panel had to refer to sports jurisprudence to determine the appropriate sanction which they ruled to be the player’s second doping offence.
‘The Independent Doping Tribunal Panel ruled that Mr Ralepelle must serve an eight-year ban for doping. The ban will expire on the 27th January 2027. The player has 21 days within which to file an appeal against the sanction.’
The 33-year-old, who was omitted from the Sharks’ Vodacom Super Rugby squad this year, will effectively end his rugby career if he decides to accept the ban.
It is not the first time he has been embroiled in such a saga. Back in 2015, he was suspended for two years for a doping offence. This dated back to an out-of-competition doping control test taken the year before, when he was recovering from an operation on an anterior cruciate ligament following a knee injury he had sustained while playing for Toulouse against Biarritz in France.
In 2010, Ralepelle and fellow Bok Bjorn Basson also tested positive for methylhexanamine, but were found to not be at fault, as the substance was apparently contained in Springbok-approved supplements.
Ralepelle last year protested his innocence regarding the latest positive for Zeranol, arguing the substance may have found its way into his system through a change in his diet.
‘The Zeranol [test] is another false allegation against me, which I deny,’ Ralepelle said in an interview with eNCA last year.
‘I did not take any of these substances. At the end of the day, I’m a professional athlete, and it threatens my career and my future as an athlete, so it’s important that I get this cleared to prove that I am not the one who has gone and taken all these things to make myself a better person.’
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