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.

Yunus admits taking drugs but blames it on MAU deputy president

By Aftar Singh
The Star

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.