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Bend It Like Bedi

Published: Sunday October 5, 2014 MYT 2:25:00 PM
Updated: Sunday October 5, 2014 MYT 3:35:59 PM

Stop calling her a cheat!

A lot of Malaysians were probably disappointed and devastated when our wushu exponent Tai Cheau Xuen (pic) tested positive for a banned substance at the Asian Games in Incheon.

She was after all our first gold medallist at the just concluded games.

While there are those who have tagged her as a cheat (among other things), I think we should not come to quick conclusions.

She tested positive for the stimulant sibutramine after winning the women's nanquan and nandao all-round event on Sept 20.

Sibutramine is widely used as a dietary supplement to control weight gain but has been banned in many countries as it can cause stroke. The substance is on the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) banned substances list.

In 2010, Romanian striker Adrian Mutu tested positive for the same substance while playing for Serie A team Forientina. Mutu who was banned subsequently for nine months said that he ingested slimming pills his mother had given him.

The substance wouldn’t have made him score more goals or have more energy to run around the football pitch.

Similarly, there is no way that Tai’s performance could be enhanced by taking this substance.

This is not a steroid or a blood thinner, which is used by some athletes to enhance their performance.

It is not right to equate Tai with the likes of cyclist Lance Armstrong or sprinter Marion Jones who clearly used drugs to gain an edge over their competitors.

I’m not saying that Tai definitely took the substance without knowing about it, but there is a huge possibility that she might not have known what she was taking.

She might now most likely be banned for two years, although the ban can be reduced if she proves that she took it by mistake.

Let us not vilify her or call her a cheat. 

Instead use her case to educate the other national athletes so that they know what is legal and what isn't.

I can only imagine how it easy it is to be caught up in a doping scandal if you accidentally took something from the shelves.  

It would be sad that an athlete would lose years off their limited sporting life because of an innocent mistake.   

It is good that the Malaysian Wushu Federation stands by their athlete. She should definitely be given a chance. 

In this case, the whole of Malaysia should stand by her too.  



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