DOPING: Body seeks heavier punishment for Harun, six athletes
THE World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is seeking a life ban for former national chief coach Harun Rasheed and four-year suspensions for six national sprinters involved in the dope test-skipping affair in May last year.
Wada is unimpressed with the action taken by the Malaysian Athletics Union (MAU) against Harun, who was suspended for a year, and the athletes, who were only "sternly warned" about their future conduct last September.
Instead, Wada has filed an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland seeking MAU's decision "be set aside and the appeal of Wada be admissible."
MAU has until Sunday to submit its case file to CAS as laid out in a May 9-dated letter from CAS, which was sighted by Timesport.
Wada's demands include: "Each of the athletes is sanctioned with a period of ineligibility of up to a maximum of four years starting on the date which the CAS awards enter into force.
"The coach (Harun) is sanctioned with up to a maximum of lifetime ineligibility. (In addition) all competitive individual results obtained (by the athletes) from May 24, 2011 (the date they skipped the dope tests) shall be annulled."
The last statement means that Malaysia stand to lose another Sea Games medal -- a bronze -- won by the men's 4x100m quartet which included Noor Imran Hadi, one of the six athletes who skipped the tests.
The other five are women sprinters Norjannah Hafiszah Jamaluddin, Nurul Sarah Kadir, Siti Zubaidah Adabi, Yee Yi Leng and Siti Fatima Mohamed.
Norjannah and Nurul Sarah also ran at the Sea Games in Palembang last November while Siti Fatima has switched to cycling.
All six had skipped the tests after allegedly being told to do so by Harun before Norjannah, Nurul Sarah and Noor Imran were packed off early to Bulgaria for a pre-arranged training and competition stint.
The other three remained in the country and subsequently underwent drug tests two days later while the foreign-based trio were eventually tested in Bulgaria. All six returned negative results.
After MAU announced its sanction of Harun, the coach told reporters he had acted under the orders of MAU deputy president Karim Ibrahim, who is facing an inquiry in a separate dope-related matter.
Karim has been accused by sprinter Yunus Lasaleh of providing him with the pills which led to the athlete's positive test in Palembang after running in the gold medal-winning 4x400m quartet.
In MAU's defence, vice-president Datuk R. Annamalai said the athletes were found to be innocent as they had not acted on their own.
"An investigation revealed that the athletes are innocent, as they just followed instructions from the coach, otherwise they would have attended the anti-doping test," said Annamalai, who led the investigation into the matter, in a statement yesterday.
"These are young athletes who just abide by orders from (their) superiors as athletic coaches have big influence and control over athletes.
"The main objective of MAU is to protect and support the interest of athletes while grooming them to be future champions. With this in mind, and not wanting to jeopardise their future, it was decided to give stern warnings to the six athletes.
"The coach was given a one-year suspension as he was the person instrumental in asking the athletes not to attend the anti-doping test.
"Based on the above reasons, MAU is prepared to accept and abide by any further punishment meted by IAAF (International Association of Ahtletic Federations), WADA or CAS.
"Now knowing that the matter is in the hands of CAS, MAU will do its best to appeal within 10 days for a fair and just consideration and decision. MAU will accept and abide by any decision of CAS."