KUANTAN: Doping tests will be made compulsory for all athletes attending international sports meet.
This means all athletes selected for the upcoming 28th SEA Games in Singapore must undergo test first before leaving the country.
Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk M. Saravanan said it was the responsibility of all athletes to undergo the test and the ministry was in the midst of making it a “standard requirement” for all future international tournaments.
Saravanan said athletes who refused to go for the test would be deemed positive for taking banned substances.
“Why should they refuse to undergo the tests? We are not asking for their DNAs.
“This is to ensure all athletes are clean before they leave the country,” he said after opening the Kuantan satellite centre.
Saravanan said previously, such tests were only done randomly and not on every single athlete leaving for sports meet such as Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and SEA Games.
He said due to several high-profile cases lately, the practice was put into place to avoid tarnishing the country’s image, as well as uphold the name of sports and ethics.
“Effectively, all the 500-over athletes going to Singapore will be tested this time.
“The Government is serious in addressing the misuse of banned substances, whether knowingly or unknowingly,” he said.
Saravanan said the move would also absolve the role of officials, coaches or doctors who might be blamed if the athletes were found to be positive for banned substances.
He said athletes who won medals should serve as an inspiration to all for their efforts, instead of being labelled a disgrace by using banned drugs.
“We will know if they won but if they failed a doping test later, then the banned drugs must be taken after leaving the country or during the competition.
“The interest of all parties will be better protected and will prevent any unnecessary blame on officials,” he said.
On the target for the SEA Games, Saravanan said the Government was confident of getting more medals.
He said they did not want to put too much pressure on the athletes but based on feedback from officials and athletes, “it is very positive.”
Saravanan also expressed confidence that all athletes were more mature and would be well behaved this time with proper guidance from officials.
“To err is human. I am sure they know how to behave and not bring shame to the country again,” he said, referring to previous incidents where some athletes were found to have smoked, damaged property, burned carpets and flooded dorms in past meets.
On the satellite centres, he said it was doing a good job to churn out world class athletes but needed more time to produce results.
There are two centres in Pahang and 19 nationwide.
These centres serve to complement the natural abilities of athletes by way of technology advancement.