15 December 2005
Four years after finishing their race, South Africa’s mens’ 4x100m relay team have been declared world champions.
Competing at the 2001 IAAF World Championships in Edmonton, Canada, the team finished second to the favourites from the US. The South Africans, Morne Nagel, Corne du Plessis, Lee-Roy Newton and Matthew Quinn, ran the races of their lives to reach the finals and finish second to the Americans.
Their time of 38.47 sec is the current South African record.
Tim Montgomery, a member of the 2001 US relay team, was on Tuesday found guilty of a doping offence.
Although Montgomery has never tested positive for any IAAF-prohibited substances, he was convicted after testimony by other athletes that he admitted to using a substance he called “clear”.
Montgomery declined to give evidence in his defence.
He announced his retirement from athletics following the Council of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to impose a two-year ban.
The two-year suspension also includes a retroactive cancellation of all his performances dating back to 31 March 2005. This means that all the times that Montgomery ran, including his 2002 world record, and all his results and wins, have been removed from the record books.
The cancellation disqualifies the American team’s 2001 World Championships victory, and hands the South Africans the gold.
Ironically, the Americans only made the 2001 final after appealling their semi-final disqualification for a lane infringement.
The South Africans now become one of the very few teams to have won the short relay, as the Americans have had a virtual stranglehold on the event. Only the Canadian and Trinidadian teams have challenged the American supremacy in the event.
The South Africans said at the time that Hestrie Cloete’s gold in the Women’s high jump, won minutes earlier, had pumped them up.