Thailand ready to remedy doping non-compliance

Thailand ready to remedy doping non-compliance

Country asks world agency to reconsider penalty, Indonesia also offers explanations

David Howman, former director-general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, addresses a symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2015, shortly after the new World Anti-Doping Code came into effect. (Reuters File Photo)
David Howman, former director-general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, addresses a symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2015, shortly after the new World Anti-Doping Code came into effect. (Reuters File Photo)

Thailand and Indonesia will ask the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to reconsider its decision to declare them non-compliant, representatives of the two countries said on Friday.

WADA announced on Thursday that the national anti-doping agencies of North Korea and Indonesia were ruled to be non-compliant for not implementing effective testing programmes

Thailand was declared non-compliant after failing to fully implement the 2021 Anti-Doping Code, the agency added.

The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) said it would petition WADA next week to reconsider the non-compliance ruling.

Thailand has finished amending the text of its anti-doping regulations to be in compliance with WADA’s 2021 Anti-Doping Code, but the document has not been published for enactment due to internal legal processes, SAT Governor Gongsak Yodmani said.

“We will explain to WADA that we weren’t ignoring the problem. We will proceed with enacting the law as soon as possible,” he added.

The law could be published as a decree instead to speed up enactment and it will be in effect before the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, he said.

Indonesia’s sports minister Zainudin Amali told reporters that officials wrote to WADA on Friday explaining that the Covid pandemic had prevented it from extracting enough samples from athletes and sending them to WADA.

The pandemic resulted in most sports events around the world being cancelled or postponed last year.

“This caused the sample requirement to not be fulfilled,” Amali said, adding that Indonesia hoped to send WADA “ample” samples from a nationwide sports event being held in the easternmost province of Papua.

A spokesman for the Indonesian badminton association said three tournaments in Bali — the Indonesia Masters, Indonesia Open and BWF World Tour Finals — would proceed as planned in November and December despite the WADA sanction.

The declaration of non-compliance means the three countries are ineligible to be awarded the right to host regional, continental or world championships during their suspension.

Representatives of the countries are also ineligible to sit as members of the boards on committees until their nations are reinstated or for a period of one year, whichever is longer.

Thailand is among a number of countries whose weightlifting programmes have been tainted by doping, to the point where the future of weightlifting as an Olympic sport has been called into question.

The Thai Amateur Weightlifting Association (Tawa) and its athletes were suspended in March 2019 after eight lifters — including two 2016 Rio Olympic champions — tested positive for banned substances at the 2018 world championships.

Tawa appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which allowed the country to return to international competitions after June this year, but a ban on competing in the Tokyo Olympics was upheld.

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