KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Athletic Union (MAU) will defend the six national sprinters who failed to provide urine samples to the National Sports Institute (NSI) on May 24 last year.
The athletes, who skipped the dope test on the instruction of former national coach Harun Rasheed, are Siti Fatima Mohamed, Siti Zubaidah Adabi, Yee Yi Leng, Norjannah Hafiszah Jamaludin, Nurul Sarah Kadir and Noor Imran Hadi.
MAU suspended Harun for a year but only gave the six athletes stern warnings, which the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) deemed insufficient.
Wada have said that the punishment did not match the offence and have recommended four-year suspensions for the athletes and a lifetime ban for Harun.
MAU president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said they had paid 16,000 Swiss francs (RM54,000) to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on June 20 to fight the case for the six sprinters.
“The athletes are innocent as they were not tested positive for any banned substance. They skipped the urine test because they were told to do so by the coach,” said Shahidan.
“It’s not the fault of the athletes. I feel sorry for them as the suspension will end their athletic careers.
“They are national sprinters who have a good future in the sport. We are fighting the case for their honour, parents and the country.
“MAU don’t have the money but we have asked the National Sports Council (NSC) and Sports Ministry to help,” said Shahidan, who contributed RM20,000 from his own pocket.
Shahidan said they have written to CAS to have the hearing in Kuala Lumpur rather than Switzerland.
“It will be too expensive for us to travel to Switzerland. We have our own court in KL to hear such cases. We hope CAS will agree to it,” said Shahidan.
Shahidan added that the probe into the allegation that MAU deputy president Datuk Karim Ibrahim had provided the banned substance methandienone to relay runner Yunus Lasaleh last year, will resume on July 5-6.
The hearing is headed by retired judge Tan Sri V.C. George.
Sabahan Yunus, who tested positive after winning the men’s 4x400m SEA Games gold medal in Palembang last November, had claimed that he was given pills by a Bulgarian doctor on Karim’s orders while training in Miri last September.
The allegation was collaborated by 42 other national athletes and 16 coaches in a memorandum handed to Shahidan demanding the removal of Karim from office.