Asian Games organisers on Tuesday expelled Malaysia’s wushu gold medal-winner Tai Cheau Xuen after she became the third doping failure of the giant event.
Tai, 24, tested positive for a banned stiumulant after winning Malaysia’s first gold in at the Games on September 20, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said. The Malaysian delegation vowed to appeal.
The champion in the Chinese martial art was found to have taken sibutramine, according to to an OCA statement.
It is the second time the substance, widely used as a dietary supplement, has been detected at the Games, where 9,500 athletes are taking part.
OCA anti-doping chief, M. Jegathesan, has indicated that not all failures for sibutramine are “hard core” cheats, but he has not yet commented on Tai’s case. And no matter the circumstances the OCA had no choice but to order her out.
“The competitor has been disqualified from the competition as well as these Games, and as such her accreditation cancelled and her medal withdrawn,” said the statement.
The official announcement of the failed test was delayed because Tai and the Malaysian Olympic Committee asked for the B-sample to be examined, officials said.
Malaysia’s chef de mission Danyal Balagopal said the team would appeal the decision, but did not say on what basis.
“Obviously when we say we will appeal we have strong reasons,” he told AFP.
– Beauty Treatment –
A Tajik footballer, Khurshed Beknazarov, and a Cambodian soft tennis player have already been expelled for failing tests.
Nineteen-year-old Cambodia Yi Sophany was also found to have taken sibutramine, which is widely taken to control weight.
About 1,900 doping tests will be carried out on the Asian Games athletes, according to Jegathesan, the OCA medical committee chairman.
He said this week there are three kinds of doping failures.
There are the “hard-core” cheats who deliberately take the “magic pill” because they think it will help them to win. There are also competitors who are pushed into doping by their coaches.
And there are athletes who get caught through “ignorance” just by taking medicines and diet treatments, said Jegathesan.
The Cambodian athlete told the OCA that she had taken sibutramine as part of a beauty treatment, officials said. And they acknowledged that it probably would not have helped her performance.
But the OCA is obliged to follow the World Anti-Doping Agency rules and list of banned stimulants.
Jegathesan said that neither of the first two cases reported were probably intentional. “I don’t think there was ever any intention to use these to cheat,” he said.
“But we cannot make an exception to the rule simply because we are sympathetic. We have a job to do, to protect the clean athlete,” he added.
After winning in the women’s nanquan and nandao all-round event on September 20, Tai had dedicated her victory to all Malaysians for their solid backing for the national contingent in Incheon.
“I also want to thank the National Sports Council and Olympic Council of Malaysia for the support they have given me,” she said. – Agence France-Presse