KUALA LUMPUR — Doping in sports has become an issue in Malaysia and steps need to be taken to not only educate elite athletes but especially those at grassroots level.
The recent spate of doping cases which emerged at the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Sarawak raised queries as to how affected athletes procured banned substances and who were the Svengalis behind them.
“These revelations have shown us we need to step up efforts on doping not just for elite athletes but also at the grassroots,” said Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) deputy president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria
“Since the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) upped their punishment from a two-year ban to a mandatory four-year suspension, it is catastrophic for an athlete to be caught with banned substances,” he added.
Two archers, a weightlifter and a boxer had failed drug tests conducted by Anti-Doping Agency of Malaysia (Adamas).
The weightlifter had ingested steroids while the boxer had diuretics in his system.
The weightlifter has since declined to have his B sample tested.
Malaysian Weightlifting Association (MWF) secretary Pang Siew Huat said they were told about the matter through a telephone conversation, but had demanded a written answer from the state weightlifting association.
“Next week is the deadline for them to send in the written answer to us (MWF),” Siew Huat told Bernama.
The surprise came from the archers who tested positive for sibutramine.
National Archery Association of Malaysia (NAAM) acting secretary, Major (rtd) Amir Suharman Adnan said the association had sent letters to the state associations since both archers are students.
“We sent letters to them last Friday and they need to explain before any action is taken. The athletes also need to inform if they want to test their B samples or attend a hearing,” he said.
If found guilty, both archers could face a four-year suspension which could be reduced to two years if proven the consumption was not their mistake.
Wushu exponent Tai Cheau Xuen was banned for four months and stripped of her nanquan-nandao gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon after failing a test for the same weight-loss drug.
“One of the errors we tend to do is tie ourselves in with sports that have a high risk of cheating while neglecting the rest. For example, weightlifting and bodybuilding,” lamented Norza.
“When it happens, those who have been systematically cheating would continue to do so without getting caught,” he added.
“However, there are instances where the person caught doping did so unknowingly. This is an instance where the coach should be accountable. If you are a national athlete, even if its Panadol, you must check with the associations or Wada if it’s approved.”
Norza has urged Adamas and Education Ministry to help with developing a sports culture free of doping.
One obstacle to achieving this is the cost; it is not cheap to conduct doping tests.
The National Sports Council have informed the three national associations (archery, boxing and weightlifting) they have until Oct 15 to contest the results of the tests.