INCHEON, South Korea - Malaysia on Wednesday refused to hand back the Asian Games gold medal won by a wushu athlete who failed a doping test, as a fifth athlete became snared in the hunt for banned drugs at the giant event.
A teenaged Syrian karate competitor tested positive for clenbuterol, the anabolic agent made notorious by sprinter Ben Johnson at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, in the latest case.
Malaysia has been infuriated by the expulsion on Tuesday of wushu champion Tai Cheau Xuen from the 45-nation Games.
On Wednesday it made a formal appeal to the international sports court over the way her drug test was handled, Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) officials said.
The Swiss-based independent Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) has set up a special unit in Incheon to handle disputes at the Games, where 9,500 athletes are competing.
"The CAS will make its decision on whether or not to restore the gold within 24 hours," OCA director general Husain al-Musallam, told AFP.
"If the court finds that this player has the right to get back the medal, the OCA will not oppose it."
Malaysian officials say, however, that they still have the gold awarded to the champion in the Chinese martial art on September 20, and they are not about to hand it over.
Sieh Kok Chi, secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) told AFP that the medal is still in Malaysian hands. Other officials have pleaded the case that there could have been a mix-up in the test samples.
Malaysia's head of mission Danyal Balagopal told the Malaysian newspaper, The Star, it had taken about 16 hours to get the results of Tai's test back.
"We usually know the result as soon as it is brought to the lab," he was quoted as saying.