KUALA LUMPUR: Hafifi Mansor's provisional suspension by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for failing a doping test has raised a number of concerns.
It has been confirmed that the urine sample used for the test was taken during a competition in Melbourne in March, begging the question: Why did it take so long for the world body to issue the result?
National Anti-Doping Agency of Malaysia (Adamas) deputy director Nishel Kumar is equally perplexed. However, he has faced a similar situation in the past.
"We have also received a copy of the test which states that the sample was taken in March.
"What we don't understand is why it has taken seven months for the result to be made known. It usually only takes a month, so we too are wondering what has caused the delay.
"This is something that the association (Malaysian Weightlifting Federation) needs to find out, as it is between them and the world body from now on.
"We are here to advise the association (MWF) and make sure they comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) requirements," said Nishel.
Track cyclist Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom had tested positive for the banned substance dexamethasone at the Perlis Malaysia Games in May 2014, but the result of the failed test was only made known in Feb 2015 due to a miscommunication between the test lab and Adamas.
It is also strange that Hafifi had tested positive for oxymetholone, more commonly known as anadrol, which is more popular among bodybuilders than weightlifters.
Oxymetholone, which incurs a mandatory four-year ban if an athlete is found guilty, is considered to be one of the most powerful anabolic steroids available – but it is also known to cause weight gain and can also cause a long list of serious side effects.
Not a single weightlifter from IWF's list of sanctioned athletes from 2008 until 2017 has been caught for using the substance.
"I do not know much about this drug. As far as we are concerned, it is classed under the S1 (anabolic agents) by Wada.
"It is less popular. A lot of weightlifters have tested positive for stanozolol," added Nishel.
Over 100 athletes were sanctioned by the IWF for testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol during the same 2008-2017 period.