KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — Malaysia claimed today there were irregularities in the chain of custody involving the doping test result of its wushu athlete Tai Cheau Xuen, who was expelled from the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and stripped off her gold medal.
According to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, there was an “unusual and suspicious” 16-hour gap between the doping test sample collection and testing, in addition to an allegedly tampered chain of custody (CoC) document during Tai’s second hearing with the games’ disciplinary panel.
As such, Malaysia will be lodging an appeal with the ad hoc committee of the Court of Arbitration in Sports in Incheon in order to clear Tai’s name.
“We don’t have any reason to question the sample collection or the accuracy of KIST’s analysis, but the question is about the flawed process in the CoC which was not answered satisfactorily by the panel,” minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in a statement.
KIST refers to the Korean Institute of Science and Technology, the body responsible for lab-testing the doping test samples.
“Therefore, we have to challenge the decision of the Anti-Doping Rule Violation against [Tai] considering there is doubt towards the integrity of the CoC. This is a trust and responsibility in defending the interest and dignity of the nation’s sports,” he added.
Khairy said Malaysia has delivered its queries to the disciplinary panel led by Tayyab Ikram, in addition to Olympic Council of Asia’s (OCA) anti-doping body.
According to the minister, Tai’s urine sample was taken together with four other samples at 5.06pm Korean time on September 20 at the wushu venue, and was delivered to Doping Control Command Centre hours later at 7.15pm.
The CoC document showed that the samples only arrived at DCCC at 11.10am and was brought to KIST at 1.29pm, but did not specify the date, he said.
The OCA announced today 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.
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.
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, was the third athlete to fail a doping test at the 17th Asian Games, which end in South Korea on Saturday.