INCHEON: The Malaysian contingent in Incheon were rocked with news that wushu exponent Tai Cheau Xuen, who bagged the country's first gold medal at the Asian Games, failed a drugs test.
The 23-year-old tested positive for the stimulant sibutramine after winning the women's nanquan and nandao all-round event on Sept 20, the first day of the Games’ competition.
The ingredient is widely used as a dietary supplement to control weight gain but has been banned in many countries as it can cause stroke.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said in a statement on Tuesday that Cheau Xuen will have to return her medal. She is the first Malaysian medal winner to be caught for doping in Asian Games history.
The national wushu team returned to Kuala Lumpur last week after their competition ended on Sept 24.
"The competitor has been disqualified from the competition as well as these Games, and as such her accreditation cancelled and her medal withdrawn," said the statement.
Cheau Xuen is the third athlete to test positive for doping. A Tajik footballer Khurshed Beknazarov and
Cambodian soft tennis player Yi Sophany have already been expelled for doping offences earlier.
The 19-year-old Cambodian girl was also found to have taken sibutramine.
Malaysia chef de mission Datuk Danyal Balagopal said they will challenge the case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport once they receive the official notification.
"The chain of custody is not right. It took too long for the sample to reach the lab," he said.
Cheau Xuen is not the first Malaysian athlete in Asian Games to be caught for doping as three
sepaktakraw players were sent home after testing positive for morphine in Busan in 2002.
And it is ironic that Cheau Xuen's case comes so soon as it was on Sept 19 when National Sports Council announced three positive doping cases from Kangar, Perlis, in May.
Sukma weightlifter and gold medallist Jelinie Empera, who was also the best female athlete at the Games, tested positive for anabolic steroid.
Federal Territories cyclist Dhia Danial Kharil and Perlis weightlifter Siti Fazera Ishak were not medal winners but had traces of banned substances in their urine samples.
A recent case involving a SEA Games gold medallist was at Indonesia in 2011 when the national men’s 4x400m relay team were stripped of their title after sprinter Yunus Lasaleh tested positive for a banned substance.