Tuesday, October 19

‘Light punishment for Sukma archers in compliance with WADA code’

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KUALA LUMPUR: The six and eight months suspension meted out by the National Archery Association of Malaysia (NAAM) to two archers who had failed dope tests was in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) code.

Anti-Doping Agency of Malaysia (Adamas) chief S Nishel Kumar said the decision by NAAM’s Disciplinary Committee yesterday, was proportional to the offence committed by the two Sukma medallist.

“The decision by NAAM was in compliance with WADA since they tested positive for sibutramine which is classified as a specified substance, have no direct effect in enhancing the athletes’ performance like steroid. So, the punishment could be a maximum of two years suspension with stern warning.

“In this case, the athletes knew what they ate, proved the cause and the committee feels it is ignorance and unintentional fault, so the decision is right. But if they cannot prove how the banned substance entered their body, the maximum punishment can be two years with a stern warning,” Nishel Kumar told Bernama.

On Sunday, NAAM imposed a six and eight months backdated suspension for two archers from Terengganu and Kedah respectively for failing dope tests during the Sarawak Sukma in July, which was deemed a light doping violation.

On Sept 26, Adamas revealed that four athletes comprising two archers, one each from weightlifting (anabolic steroids) and boxing (diuretics), who won medals at the Sukma had failed dope tests conducted by Adamas.

Referring to previous international cases for sibutramine, Nishel Kumar said the sanction imposed is usually between four to eight months, including the four month ban imposed by International Wushu Federation for Malaysia’s 2014 Incheon Asian Games gold medalist, Tai Cheau Xuen.

He further explained that, sibutramine is a substance easily found in slimming pills, where athletes are often not aware of the presence of the banned substances in such products.

“Athletes need to be more careful in what they are taking even though they are not taking it for sports performance but taking it in a personal capacity. That’s where the danger is.

“They need to consult dietitians and nutritionist at the National Sports Institute (NSI) before consuming any supplements or products, even if it is not related to sports. Athletes in states can refer to the state NSI,” he said.

Nishel Kumar said Adamas will work closely with the Education Ministry to create awareness and educate the state and grassroots level athletes, including the state sports schools to prevent such incidents in the future, especially with the SEA Games less than a year away. — Bernama
Sharing the same view was Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Medical Committee and Anti-doping Commission chairman Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan, who said there are provisions in the current WADA Code introduced in 2015, to reduce the sanction in the spirit of proportionality, with reference to an athlete’s level of no fault or negligence in connection with an anti-doping rule violation.

“This is specially so in the case of prohibited substances which fall under the category of specified substances, which for example, are those that can be found in common medication and over the counter preparation and supplements.

“The reduction can be given by the appropriate hearing panel based on its findings during the results management and hearing process.

“Interested parties and stake holders who may not agree with the punishment meted out can appeal to the relevant body including the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS),” Dr Jegathesan, who is also Commonwealth Games Federation medical adviser said. — Bernama