Was Zola Budd’s Comrades DQ Justified?

The 48-year-old was stripped of her title in the veterans category for not displaying her age-group tag.

When it comes to racing, controversy cannot seem to escape Zola Budd.

Budd, the former 5,000-meter world-record holder and world cross country champion who was involved in a controversial collision with American Mary Decker in the 3,000m final at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, finished seventh among women at last weekend’s 56-mile Comrades Marathon in her native South Africa. The 48-year-old was the top finisher in the veterans category and should have taken home R12,000 (about $1,100 USD)┬áin prize money for winning that title, in addition to R25,000 (about $2,200 USD) for finishing seventh overall, but “this has now been disallowed because she did not display her age category tag according to the officials,” her manager, Ray de Vries told the Times’ Live.

Although she was not disqualified from the race, Budd was ruled ineligible to collect the prize money in her age category. The issue, according to de Vries, is that the second and third-place finishers in the veterans category were wearing the same age-group tags on their race bibs as Budd.

“The question is, why is Zola being singled out?,” de Vries said. “A mistake has been made and it needs to be rectified.”

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