Malaysia orders doping test on its athletes for upcoming SEA Games

CHARLES LEE | 13th Apr 2015 | NEWS

It appears that our nearest neighbour, Malaysia, is determined to set things right at the upcoming South-East Asian (SEA) Games.  Its Minister for Youth and Sports Mr Khairy Jamaluddin has insisted that every athlete who is representing Malaysia at the SEA Games will have to go through a series of doping tests to ensure fair and objective competition at the Games.

Malaysia encountered an embarrassing moment when its wushu athlete, Tai Cheau Xuen, won the first-ever gold for the country at last year’s Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, and was subsequently tested positive for a banned substance.  Separately, its top badminton player, Lee Chong Wei, is currently suspended from competing, after failing a dope test in last August’s World Championships at Copenhagen, Switzerland.  The verdict on Lee’s case has yet to be announced.

Responding to a media query, Mr Khairy said: “I’d rather spend money testing all the athletes than be embarrassed later during the Games. I don’t think Malaysian sports can take another high profile doping scandal, so this time around, I am insisting that everyone is tested – because I want to send a message that of zero tolerance.”  Chef de mission Mr Mohd Norza Zakaria added, “Hotels in Singapore normally come with shopping malls, so we need to ensure the discipline of the athletes will be at the highest level.  We need them to focus their minds towards the Games and also to ensure that whenever they finish competing, they should be able to support their colleagues, rather than disappear.”

Malaysia was placed fifth at the last SEA Games in Myanmar.  It clinched only 43 gold medals.  For the upcoming SEA Games, the country is making sure that its athletes are getting the best training and support.  Mr Mohd Norza said: “They will try to improve on the medal count with focus on hockey, badminton, diving and archery.  There will be public pressure in terms of getting X number of gold medals. We will try to accommodate that, so there will be an adjustment in terms of the so-called targets this year. Taking into account the characters and also the objectives of the Games, I think we will perform better.” 

Malaysia’s 870-strong contingent will be competing in 35 sports for the SEA Games, which will be held from 5 June to 16 June.  Host nation Singapore, which mandated random blood testing at the Games, will be sending eight national cyclists to represent the country.