INCHEON South Korea (Reuters) - Tai Cheau Xuen, who won a gold medal in wushu for Malaysia at the Asian Games, has been expelled from the event and stripped of her medal because of a failed drugs test, one of two announced on Tuesday.
The second involved Iraqi weightlifter Mohammed Jasim Abboo Al Aifuri, who tested positive for anabolic steroids before the Games started.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced that Tai had tested positive for sibutramine, a banned stimulant often found in weight-loss pills.
She was automatically disqualified from Asia’s biggest multi-sports event and stripped of her accreditation but Malaysian sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin said an appeal would be lodged with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Jamaluddin raised doubts about the testing procedures that led to the positive result: “Serious concerns about doping process for wushu athlete,” he said in the statement, published in Malaysian on his Facebook account.
“We maintain integrity of process compromised and will appeal to arbitration court.”
The 22-year-old Tai won a gold medal on the first day of competition in Incheon, South Korea, taking out the women’s nanquan and nandao all around competition in the martial arts sport.
The OCA said her urine specimen was later found to contain sibutramine, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) list of banned substances earlier this year.
The OCA released a statement confirming the positive test and the initial penalties imposed on Tai: “After due process according to the rules and procedures of the OCA, it has been determined that the above finding constitutes an anti-doping rules violation.”
If the suspension stands, Indonesia’s Juwita Niza Wasni, who finished second in the competition, will be promoted to the gold medal position while China’s Wei Hong will move up to the silver medal and Ivana Ardelia Irmanto of Indonesia to the bronze after originally finishing fourth overall.
Tai, who won the world championship in the nanquan discipline last year, did not comment on the case but her father told Malaysian media his daughter was innocent.
“She has always been extra careful when consuming anything and she has no reason to take a drug to perform at such a big event or anywhere else,” he told the Star newspaper.
Tai was the third athlete to fail a doping test at the 17th Asian Games, which end in South Korea on Saturday but she was quickly followed by a fourth.
Cambodian soft tennis player Yi Sophany was also thrown out after testing positive for sibutramine while Tajikistan soccer player Khurshed Beknazarov was ejected after his doping test showed the presence of the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.
Later on Tuesday, the OCA said Al Alfuri tested positive for the banned anabolic steroids etiocholanolone and androsterone in a pre-compeition test. He finished seventh in the men’s 105+ kilogram division but was disqualified after the test results.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury/John O'Brien