Other Sports: When will our national athletes learn? | The Star Online


When will our national athletes learn?

OUR national athletes never learn, do they?

Now, another case of a Malaysian gold medallist testing positive for a banned substance at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August has surfaced.

A Malaysian diver failed a doping test conducted during the Games and now faces the possibility of being banned from any competition up to four years if the result from the B sample is the same.

The organisers had high hopes that all local athletes who took part in the KL SEA Games would be drug-free, but this incident has tarnished the pride of the host country, who are still celebrating the success in winning the overall title.

The athlete is believed to have taken a slimming product containing sibutramine, an ingredient which was withdrawn from the United States market in 2010 and is included in the list of banned substances under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

If this is true, it will be another sorry episode for Malaysian sports.

While our hearts go out to the athlete, one cannot feel but wonder how it is they can find themselves in this situation after all the messages and awareness talks given to them by the relevant stakeholders.

Haven’t our athletes learned from the high-profile doping cases over the last few years, including those involving wushu exponent Tai Cheau Xuen, shuttler Lee Chong Wei and champion bodybuilder Sazali Samad?

Cheau Xuen’s case during the Incheon Asian Games in 2014 is a glaring reminder of the price of ignorance an athlete has to pay.

The Negri Sembilan-born exponent was the pride of the nation when she delivered the first gold for the contingent in the wushu competition at the Asiad.

However, she found herself back in the limelight a week later – in shame this time – after the organisers announced that she was among three positive doping cases detected.

Cheau Xuen had to return the gold medal and it psychologically affected her as she has never found her way back to the top since.

Any athlete who has spent years training under the national programme, especially those in the elite squad, should know by now that there is no way they can cheat the detection system.

Organisers of major multi-sport Games, including the SEA Games, have already put in place stringent checks and tests for prohibited substances.

So, if it is really a case of ignorance, it is a shame indeed that this has happened again.

The biggest fear is that there could be more to come in the future.