THE scandal surrounding several national athletes who went missing a fter being asked to take a doping test has taken a surprising twist — three athletes now claim they were given drugs by a coach.
Sources within the sports fraternity say the trio were told by the coach the drugs were not performance-enhancers.
They were instead told the drugs, described as "pink-coloured pills", were meant for "recovery and relaxation".
A source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the athletes claimed they were in the dark over what the pills were.
" The athletes claimed they were merely following instructions to take the pink pills, without knowing what the nature of the drugs were," claimed the source.
This latest allegation has set tongues wagging among the fraternity, already troubled by the baffling conduct of its athletes who went AWOL.
Six sprinters — Mohd Noor Imran Ab Hadi, Siti Zubaidah Adabi, Yee Li Leng, Norjannah Hafiszah, Siti Fatima Mohamed and Nurul Sarah Abd Kadir — went missing when they were asked to attend a doping test at the National Sports Institute (NSI) on Tuesday.
However, three of them — Siti Fatima, Siti Zubaidah and Li Leng — met with National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong on Wednesday to explain the circumstances which forced them to "run away".
The whereabouts of the other athletes and chief coach Harun Rasheed are unknown. There are allegations they le ft for Bulgaria on Wednesday night.
This surprised Zolkples as the athletics squad was only supposed to leave for Bulgaria for training and competition on Saturday.
"My only concern is to rescue the athletes. They are naive and have been misled," said Zolkples.
" The three girls said they were told not to go for the doping test by officials. They were also met by two offcials in Serdang and told to prepare for an earlier-than-scheduled departure to Bulgaria.
"They were also apparently told to switch off their mobile phones and not to entertain calls from anybody."
Zolkples said "guilty conscience" compelled the girls to meet him and he advised them to undergo the doping test, which the three athletes did on Thursday morning.
However, he also said he was uncertain if the athletes were supplied performance-enhancing or any other drugs.
NSC athletics coordinator Datuk M. Magendran had also been trying to reach Harun and Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) deputy president Karim Ibrahim since the athletes failed to show up for the doping test but to no avail.
"Magendran told me Harun, especially, has never failed to respond to his calls or SMSes. But this time around, he was totally cut off. We don't know where they are. I, too, heard they left for Bulgaria and even if that is true, we don't know where in Bulgaria they are now.
"This is serious and I'm concerned for the athletes. I don't want anyone to speculate or judge the athletes. All I can say is that three athletes did indeed come for the doping test this morning. The results will be known in four days."
No escape for missing trioTHERE is no escape for the three national sprinters who failed to turn up for the doping test by the National Sports Insitute (NSI).
The Malay Mail was reliably told the Anti-Doping Agency of Malaysia (Adamas) will contact its counterparts in Bulgaria to test the trio — Noor Imran Abdul Hadi, Norjannah Hafiszah and Nurul Sarah Abdul Kadir — who are believed to be there.
National Sports Institute (NSI) director-general Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz said a letter would be sent to the Malaysian Amatuer Athletics Union (MAAU) asking for their whereabouts.
"We need to know where they are. We are drafting a letter and hope they will assist us to locate them.
"As far as we are concerned, the athletes are supposed to be in Bukit Jalil. It is wrong for athletes and the national body not to furnish us with their latest details."
Three other athletes — Siti Fatima Mohamed, Siti Zubaidah Adabi and Yee Li Leng — gave urine samples yesterday.
Ramlan said the attitude of the missing runners was "suspicious".
"Even if they test negative, we will haul them up for an inquiry and investigate why they acted in such a manner. As athletes, they should turn up for these tests when told to do so."
MAAU in the darkTHE Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) is not aware some of its sprinters failed to show up for a doping test on Tuesday.
MAAU medical chairman R. Annamalai claimed he was in the dark and only learnt about it when he read the newspapers on Thursday. There are claims three of the runners left for Bulgaria on Wednesday night.
“No one informed me about anything. How can I comment?” asked Annamalai.
“The National Sports Institute (NSI) are supposed to notify us if they want to conduct such tests. We did not receive anything from them, so I don’t know what's going on.”
Annamalai said MAAU would investigate the matter.
Calls and text messages to MAAU deputy president Karim Ibrahim went unanswered.
MAAU general manager M. Latchumanan issued a statement yesterday asking the Press to contact Annamalai for further details.
NSI director-general Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz said: “If we tell MAAU, it defeats the purpose. Once an athlete is in the NSC programme, they are required to attend any doping test conducted by NSI.
"The rules are clear ... if athletes need treatment or medication for anything, they come to us at NSI."
NSC director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong said athletics coordinator Datuk M. Magendran informed the coaches they were to bring their athletes in for medical screening, as practised whenever they were to leave for overseas training and competitions.
INDUSTRY sources said the only "pink-coloured" performance-enhancing drug available in the Malaysian black market was a methandrostenolone called dianabol, otherwise known as d-bol.
It is a mild testosterone pill known to increase size and strength.
Dianabol, released in the United States in the early 1960s by Ciba, was used for muscle growth by bodybuilders until its ban under the US Controlled Substances Act.
However, methandrostenolone is readily available without prescription in countries such as Mexico under the trade name Reforvit-b and is being manufactured in Asia and many East European countries, and available on the black market worldwide.
How they ran in 2010TIMINGS, including personal best, of the six athletes in 2010:
● Yee Li Leng — 11.95s (personal best for 100m) at Grand Prix Asia Championships, India, June 1
● Siti Zubaidah — 11.81s (personal best for 100m) at Grand Prix Asia Championships, India, June 5
● Siti Fatima Mohamed — 12.01s (100m) at Grand Prix Asia Championships, India, June 9.
● Siti Sarah Abdul Kadir — 11.98s (100m) at Grand Prix Asia Championships, India, June 9.
● Norjannah Hafiszah — 11.99s (100m) at Grand Prix Asia Championships, India, June 9.
● Nurul Sarah Abdul Kadir — 11.95s (100m) at Praha, Czech Republic, June 11.
● Yee Li Ying, Nurul Sarah, Norjannah Hafiszah, Siti Zubaidah Adabi — 45.33s (4x100m national record) at Zgorzelec Open, Poland, July 17
● Noor Imran Abdul Hadi — 10.46s (100m) at Singapore Open All-Comers, July 26.
Doping test controversy takes a surprising twist
Saturday, May 28th, 2011 12:41:00