KUALA LUMPUR: A one-year self-imposed ban for all national weightlifters stays – whether the stars of the sport like it or not.
And National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail is holding Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medallist Muhd Aznil Bidin responsible for hiding information that prevented the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (MWF) from taking preventive measures. Shapawi also faulted others for not playing their part.
A day ago, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games double gold medal winner Azroy Hazalwafie Izhar Ahmad claimed the MWF were unfair to impose a blanket one-year ban on all athletes although a few in the team had failed doping tests.
Azroy’s reaction came a day after the national body decided to impose a one-year international ban as a step to stop the rot after four of their athletes – Mohd Fazrul Azrie Mohdad, Muhd Hakimie Haikal Nordin, Muhd Zaidi Nordin and Ronny Jesos – tested positive for banned substances.
Fazrul, who won a bronze in the men’s below 85kg category at the Commonwealth Games, failed a pre-Games doping test while the three juniors failed random tests done by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) on March 28.
Shapawi said it was the duty of all weightlifters to keep the sport’s image clean.
“The Podium Programme athletes like Aznil and Azroy also have responsibilities to lift the image of the sport,” said Shapawi.
Shapawi said Aznil did not inform MWF or NSC about his suspicion of other weightlifters taking banned substances before the Games although the latter knew a few athletes had supplements in their NSC hostel rooms which were not provided by the ISN (National Sports Institute).
“Aznil knew they were taking the banned substance but he didn’t take the initiative to inform us. It’s easy to get the supplements online.
“He kept his mouth shut and only told us about it after the four athletes were tested positive for the banned substance.
“If he had informed us early, we could have done a doping test on the athletes in the hostel. We’re really annoyed with his attitude,” said Shapawi.
Shapawi fully supports MWF’s self-imposed ban and said it was a fair decision.
“The sport involves all the lifters. The MWF’s reputation is marred by lifters taking banned substances and all should help clear the national body’s image.
“It’s a lesson to all across the board. The upcoming lifters should be aware of the consequences and should stay away from banned substances.”
With the MWF’s decision, Malaysia will not be represented in weightlifting at this year’s Asian Games in Indonesia in August.