Methylhexaneamine Rears It’s Controversial Head

2012 Comrades Marathon winner, Ludwick Mamabolo, has tested positive for the use of methylhexaneamine. This substance rears it’s head reasonably frequently in the sporting world, and not without any controversy.

Methylhexaneamine, an extract from the geranium plant, is a compound found in nasal decongestants, but has been baned by many professional sports bodies as a performance enhancing substance. Side effects include a heightened sense of awareness and energy, and it can mask fatigue levels. The South African Institute For Drug Free Sport prohibits the use of methylhexaneamine, in-competition.

It has been marketed as a dietary supplement, for use with caffeine, as a stimulant. In New Zealand, it is an active ingredient in some recreational narcotics.

In 1992, Comrades winner Charl Mattheus was stripped of his title after testing positive for methylhexaneamine. In 2010, two Springbok rugby players, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson, also tested positive for the substance.

In both of these incidents, sports scientist Prof. Tim Noakes, was outspoken about the legality of the substance.

According to Noakes, methylhexaneamine disappears from someone’s system within “24 to 36 hours”. Furthermore, Noakes also does not believe that athletes can gain any advantage from the use of methylhexaneamine.

In response to the Springbok drug controversy in 2010, Noakes said “This is not a doping incident. It’s an incident of inadvertent use through medication of a supplement. To call these guys dopers would be unfair. You can’t label someone a crook if he’s not one.”

“Let’s focus on what is important. Let’s find the steroid-users.”

Does the same school of thought apply for Mamabolo? Should sports bodies  focus on more potent performance enhancing drugs, or does the mantra “rules are rules” hold true? 

9 Responses to Methylhexaneamine Rears It’s Controversial Head

  1. christa 19 June 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    So are they going to strip mamabolo’s title now as well?

  2. John 19 June 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Unfortunately i dont know anything about the science behind this drug… so does one go with Tim Noakes or the SAIDFS. It would be a dam shame if an honest runner is dragged through the mud like this.

  3. Malcolm 20 June 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    I believe that an athlete should be aware of banned substances in medications… They should ask a doctor / pharmacist weather or not the medication prescribed contain any banned substances, then to prescribe an alternative. It is a Shame to be tested and then to be found positive for these banned substances.

  4. Michelle 20 June 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    It is fairly well used around Australia and America, but now has been classed a prohibited substance, more because of the damage it can do to organs, rather than a performance enhancer. It can be used as a weightloss agent as it is a thermogenic. I do not believe it is any more performance enhancing than lacing
    up with top grade shoes. It is merely a supplement. He should keep his title.

  5. Pieter B 20 June 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    If you want to compete with the best in any sport you MUST know the rules and the banned substances. It is not an excuse to say that I did not know. It is the responsibility of the trainer and the athlete to know the rules. Everything is available on the internet or from the responsible association. He is guilty, so give it to the next athlete who also compete without the abuse substance

  6. Motsamai Rantho 20 June 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Really unfortunate. Part of the sport is to know the rules and play by them.

    All the best to Mamabolo in the upcoming hearing.

  7. johan 21 June 2012 at 10:08 am #

    if they stripped Charl why not him??????

  8. Mdu Nkwanyana 10 July 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    Sorry Mamabolo, rules are rules. You had banned substance in your system then take the consequences.

    I agree Charl was punished, for consistency take it!

    Mdu…runner for life!

  9. Charl Mattheus 25 July 2012 at 4:52 am #

    I took over the counter cold medication Degoran the week prior to the 1992 Comrades Marathon and the product contain phenylpropanolamine. The stimulant was removed after it was found that it should have never been on the banned list, because it provide no benefits to athletes. I am sorry I did not take the same product Mamabolo took. Since the 1992 Comrades Marathon I completed several other Comrades Marathons, including another win in 1997 with two runner-up positions. I was tested every time and was clean. The time were also much faster than my 1992 winning time. You can look my results up uner my permanent Comrades # 1741 in the Comrades results. I am sorry that this just was not enough for people to take my 1992 Comrades title away. The main aim is to take my life away. It happened 20 years ago and still I have to be used as a punchbag. When would this ever end. I feel sorry for Mr. Mamabola, this incident will impact the rest of his life. I belief a true Comrades Champion will come out on top again.

    Charl Mattheus

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