PETALING JAYA - Malaysia will challenge Tai Cheau Xuen's dope test failure at the Asian Games.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that he was concerned with the chain of custody (CoC) in the test and planned to file an appeal with the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) ad hoc committee in Incheon.
Tai tested positive for the stimulant sibutramine following her triumph in the winning the women's nanquan and nandao all-round event on Sept 20, the first day of the competition.
The 23-year-old has since been expelled from the Games and stripped of the medal.
Khairy, in a statement yesterday, raised concerns over several factors in the handling of the sample.
He said the urine sample - together with four other samples - were obtained at 5.06pm (local time) on Sept 20 at the Ganghwa Dolmens Gymnasium and was taken from the venue at 7.15pm on the same day to the Doping Control Command Centre (DCCC).
The sample arrived at the DCCC at 11.10am, presumably on Sept 21 as there was no date stated on the sample. The sample was then taken to the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) at 1.29pm (again presumably on Sept 21) as, again, no date was recorded.
"The missing dates raises questions on the chronology of the sample's transit from the venue to the DCCC.
"If the dates on the sample are assumed to be correct, that means the sample was kept in storage for 16 hours from the gymnasium to the DCC.
"That's quite unusual and it raises concerns on the integrity of the CoC," said Khairy in his statement.
"Why did it take 16 hours to travel from point A to point B?" he questioned.
"Even if we take into account the distance and travelling time between the gynmasium, DCC and KIST, a 16-hour transit just does not make sense."
Khairy said Malaysia had raised those concerns to the disciplinary panel chaired by Tayyab Ikram and had already written a letter to the Olympic Council of Asia anti-doping committee to voice concerns over the operating procedure.
More alarmingly, the meeting with the two panels yesterday yielded what seems to be an amended version of the CoC documents that had varying information from what was first provided to the Malaysian contingent by officials.
The amended version was never furnished to the Malaysian contingent prior to the meeting, which contravenes normal practice.
"We have no choice but to challenge the Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) taken as it is our responsibility to protect and maintain the integrity and dignity of our athletes and sports in the country," he said.