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  • Writer's pictureThathe Msimango

'I wasn't given a proper platform to tell my story' - Shange

South African walking sensation Lebogang Daywalker Shange's hopes of representing the country at a second Olympic Games have gone up with the smoke of the starter's gun. This after Shange was handed a four year ban for a doping violation this week.

Shange in action at the 2017 World Championships where he took fourth place. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

In 2019 Shange tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid trenbolone, a drug used to promote muscle growth in cattle, and was given a four-year suspension. The 20km walk national record holder appealed the sentence, allowing him a window in June this year to compete and secure qualification for Tokyo. However, the ban was upheld by the Court for Arbitration in Sport, with the time served from December 2019 until June 21 included, which means he can only return to action just before the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The 30-year-old from Orange Farm is disappointed with the ruling and feels that he wasn't given adequate opportunity to tell his side of the story. "I'm disappointed. That's all I can say right now," said a gutted Shange during an interview with #TheTopRunner.

"I believe I wasn't given the proper platform to tell my story. When we arrived with my team of lawyers for the hearing I think the decision was taken a long time ago. I wasn't allowed to express myself. I stood there helpless to tell you the truth. But what can I say, it is what it is. Now the story is all over the news so I can't say much about it," said the former African champion.

South Africa's premiere race walkers Shange and Wayne Snyman go head to head at the 2016 SA Championships. Photo Credit: Roger Sedres.

Before the banning was upheld, the man who walks in the colours of North West University had showed good form going into #Tokyo2021. He raced a 10km in Pietermaritzburg in June at an Athletics South Africa ( ASA) meeting before leaving for a European competition in Slovakia. He was hoping to join the rest of Team SA straight from Budapest, in Hungary where he has been training.

"I don't know what next for me to be honest with you," said Shange, who took fourth place at the 2017 World Championships in London. "Maybe I'm gonna go back to my side hustle. I've been cooking something in the background. I can't reveal all the details about it. But there is something that keeps me busy besides sports. I'll see what the future holds for me."

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