KUALA LUMPUR: Great news for the Malaysian hockey team. Goalkeeper S. Kumar, who failed a doping test in October, will be back in action on Monday after serving his “suspension”.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will hold a press conference on Monday to announce the International Hockey Federation's (FIH) decision not to penalise Kumar any further than the six months that he has been out in the cold.
NSTP Sport came to know about this latest development from a reliable source.
Kumar failed a doping test during the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh in October when a small amount of sibutramine, prohibited by the World Anti Doping Agency (Wada), was found in his urine sample.
Malaysia lost to India 2-1 in the final of the Asia Cup, which was their best performance before Kumar was banned.
Once rated as the No 1 goalkeeper in Asia, Kumar did not play in the recent Azlan Shah Cup and Commonwealth Games, where Malaysia finished fourth and fifth respectively.
However, Kumar will now be available for the Asian Games in Jakarta on Aug 18-Sept 2.
The source said Kumar did not even have to attend any FIH hearing because of his good record, as well as his declaration that he did not use any substance to enhance his performance. Sibutramine is normally used for slimming purposes.
Kumar has amassed 295 caps for the country and undergone about 10 doping tests throughout his career, testing negative in all.
He did not train with the national players after his urine sample was found to be positive, but six months of being away from the sport should pose no problems for Kumar to get back into shape for the Asian Games.
With Malaysia hoping to win their first Asian Games gold medal and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, an experienced goalkeeper will certainly help their cause.
Sports Journalist with the New Straits Times since 1994.
My main beat is field hockey, so this blog will have stories that I have written for the NST, as well as hockey news from around the globe. There will be regular updates. I was also the Secretary General of the National Press Club, Malaysia for three terms (six years).