Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Dramatic dope allegations
Malaysian Athletic Union president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim looks at the petition he received from Hamberi Mahat (standing, right). Also present is National Sports Council director general Datuk Zolkples Embong (left). Pic by Supian Ahmad
By Jugjet Singh
MALAYSIAN Athletic Union (MAU) president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim first expressed shock before turning defensive and finally threatening when sprints coach Hamberi Mahad handed him a petition signed by 16 coaches and 42 athletes containing damning allegations on doping and a call to remove his deputy president.
Malaysian Athletic Union president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim
Topping the petition was for Shahidan to remove MAU deputy president Karim Ibrahim before going into detail explaining how athletes were asked to leave when the National Sports Institute was about to conduct doping tests on them.
It ended with tainted Jakarta Sea Games 4x400m athlete Yunus Lasaleh from Sabah disclosing in detail how he was allegedly given strange pills and multi-coloured injections before the Games.
Hamberi walked into a packed press conference after the National Sports Council-MAU joint management committee meeting had ended, and tried to give Shahidan the petition.
"What is this, I can't accept anything from you right now, this does not follow procedure. Please leave the room," was how Shahidan reacted before shooing away Hamberi.
And after being pressed to answer some of the allegations, Shahidan gave the media the run-around.
"Congratulations to my coaches and athletes because they did not give me the petition to read, but gave it to journalists first and then ambushed this press conference to present it," said Shahidan.
"I can't answer any questions, because I have not read the contents of the petition. Anyway, athletes and coaches are not supposed to talk to the press, and now that they have gone against instructions, they can be punished."
The controversy regarding the athlete who tested positive to banned substances during the Sea Games also went unanswered when Shahidan said the Olympic Council of Malaysia has yet to give him the name of the athlete who had tested positive after winning gold in the 4x400m in Jakarta.
P. Yuvaraaj, Schzuan Ahmad Rosely, S. Kannathasan and Yunus, arrived just 48 hours before their event and subsequently won the gold medal.
"I can't give you any name because the OCM has yet to give it to me as of yesterday night (Sunday)," insisted Shahidan.
However, in the petition Yunus had alleged: "We trained in Miri, Sarawak, under the instructions of Karim Ibrahim and a doctor and Bulgarian coach Vasco (only one name written) even though their presence was not relayed to us earlier.
"And every time we trained the doctor gave us pills of different colour, five or six pills, wrapped in a small packet and were told to consume immediately.
"The doctor told me that the pills were vitamins, and I believed him as I was a new national athlete and also followed instructions from Karim Ibrahim who told me to eat the pills because they were expensive, same price as the price of a brick house.
"... later I was also injected two or three times a week with liquids of various colours and the doctor told me they were vitamin B Complex for recovery purposes.
"We then moved to Brunei where the frequency of injections increased to every morning ..."
Yunus signed the letter, together with Yuvaraaj, Kannathasan and Schzuan.
"Anybody can make allegations, that does not mean they are the truth. I can't take any action against Karim as he is an elected official, and only MAU delegates during election can decide if he stays or goes," said Shahidan.
When asked if he was going to conduct an investigation on the allegations, he refused to delve into the matter, and went into another room to meet the disgruntled athletes and officials who had wanted to hand him the petition.
Phone calls and text messages to Karim went unanswered.