Tunku Imran: Athletes must be aware of what they consume

KUALA LUMPUR: Ignorance is not bliss!

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar is of the opinion that athletes should hold themselves accountable if they fail dope tests.

The National Sports Council (NSC) and the National Sports Institute (NSI) have been left red-faced when it was learned that a Malaysian gold medallist in diving is among three who tested positive for a banned substance at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August.

The NSC and NSI had assured that no Malaysian would test positive under their zero-tolerance policy, which saw almost 80% of the Malaysian contingent being tested prior to the Games.

Tunku Imran said athletes needed to know that “the punishment for doping is harsh”.

“The athletes must be aware of what they consume. To say they took it by mistake or that they didn’t know what they took is not a valid reason,” Tunku Imran said after chairing the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games selection committee meeting at Wisma OCM here yesterday.

“The NSC and NSI have been very thorough with doping procedures, so if they’re caught for doping, they have only themselves to blame.”

Tunku Imran said that the Malaysian athlete had requested for the B sample to be tested and it would take about 10 days to two weeks to get the results.

“Once the result from the B sample is out, we will be able to give a detailed answer,” he said.

Asum secretary-general Mae Chen said that the national body would conduct their own probe into the doping case.

“Asum have been informed of an ‘adverse’ finding on one of the athletes (sample). We will establish the fact and investigate. The process will be long. So, until the investigation is over, we can’t provide any information or provide any statements,” she said.

“The athlete will remain in the team until the investigation is over. We’ll take it one step at a time.”

Asum have also been rocked by another scandal, with one of the national diving team’s assistant coaches being remanded by police at the NSC on Monday over the alleged rape of a national diver.

Although the scandals have raised a huge question mark on Malaysia’s preparation for next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Mae Chen said that Asum still planned to send a 13-strong diving squad.

“We are looking at sending seven men and six women divers. We have a good chance of winning medals, so we will send a strong team,” said Mae Chen.

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