By Aftar Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: Relay runner Mohd Yunus Lasaleh, who failed a dope test after winning gold at the Indonesia SEA Games, has made a stunning admission: he was on banned drugs which a top Malaysian Athletic Union official told him to take.
Yunus and several coaches and athletes said in a sworn statement that MAU deputy president Datuk Karim Ibrahim had arranged for a Bulgarian doctor to provide him with “pills that could help me win gold at the SEA Games”.
Yunus, together with P. Yuvaraaj, Schwan Ahmad Rosely and S. Kannathasan, did not qualify on merit for the biennial Games but surprised everyone by winning the gold in the men's 4x400m in Palembang.
Yunus, 23, subsequently failed the dope test. He now faces a lengthy ban from the sport and the quartet will have to return their medals.
I fell ill after receiving two injections and could not train for a few days. I told coach Jayabalan about the injections and he was angry with me. - Muhammad Yunus Lasaleh
In the sworn statement, the Sabahan claimed Karim had contacted him while he was training in Miri in September and told him to meet a Bulgarian doctor who could help boost his performance.
“The doctor and coach Vasco, also from Bulgaria, were in Miri. The doctor gave me five or six pills during training. He told me they were vitamins.
“Karim also told me to take the pills, which he said were very expensive. I was also given injections two or three times a week. The doctor informed me that they were B complex shots for recovery after training.
“Karim asked me not to tell anyone, including coach K. Jayabalan, about the pills. However, I fell ill after receiving two injections and could not train for a few days. I told coach Jayabalan about the injections and he was angry with me,” he said.
The team then moved their training base to Brunei.
“There, the doctor continued to give me the pills and injections,” said Yunus.
“This continued until Nov 1 when we were told that we would not be going to the Games,” said Yunus.
However, the relay quartet were later informed that they would be competing in the Games after all. They left for Palembang on Nov 12 and returned as heroes three days later without receiving their gold medals.
Karim, meanwhile, is also alleged to have told six sprinters not to provide the urine samples for doping tests as requested by the National Sports Institute last year May.
They are Norjannah Hafiszah Jamaluddin, Nurul Sarah Abdul Kadir, Siti Fatimah Mohamed, Siti Zubaidah Abadi, Yee Yi Ling and Noor Imran Hadi.
Forty-two national athletes and 16 coaches handed the memorandum to MAU president Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim at the National Sports Council in Bukit Jalil yesterday, demanding that Karim be removed as deputy president.
Shahidan said later: “I haven't read it and I can't arbitrarily remove any official. There are rules and procedures to be followed.”
Calls by StarSport to Karim went unanswered.