Morozova wins Comrades court bid
Top Comrades Marathon women’s contender Alexandra Morozova is back in the race, and she can depart with the elite cluster — not from the back, as had been proposed by the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA).
That was the ruling on Saturday by Pietermaritzburg high court judge Rob Mossop who heard an urgent application by Morozova after her last minute “ban” by the CMA on the grounds that World Athletics (WA) had given “clear and specific instructions” that Russian elite athletes who will win prize money were to be denied entry to any of its affiliated races.
Morozova, however, disputed that WA had given such a specific instruction. In opposing papers filed late on Friday, CMA board member and president of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics Willie Mkasi backtracked, saying Morozova could run, but she would have to start in H Batch, with the slowest runners and with the other Russians who were unlikely to qualify for prize money.
She would not be entitled to receive any prize money, he said.
He said the sentiments expressed by WA — regarding Russia's invasion of Ukraine had resulted in fewer and fewer Ukrainian athletes being able to compete about the world as they were required to defend their country — had “resonated” with the board.
He said the decision was an expression of solidarity with Ukrainian athletes.
But Morozova said she was entitled to start the race with other elite athletes. She said her relegation to the “H batch” was “unjustifiable and ludicrous”.
She said a clear reading of the WA letter showed there was no ban on athletes competing in any event “simply as a result of them holding a Russian passport”.
“Discrimination against me solely on the basis of my nationality is no more acceptable than discrimination against a person based solely on their ethnicity.”
She said the issue of the prize money could be resolved in the future.
Judge Mossop ruled in her favour, and ordered the CMA to pay the costs of the application.
The issue of the prize money would be determined on a return date in November.
The judge said while what was happening in Ukraine was a catastrophe, it did not justify out and out discrimination and singling her out “because she is good”.
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