Bodybuilding: Rano and ADS on collision course

SBBF president Rano Izhar Rahmat (above), defends Shaifulhaq Ahmad Ishak's participation in the nationals.

SINGAPORE - He counselled the athlete, felt he had learnt his lesson, and decided to lift his ban.

Singapore Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation (SBBF) president, Rano Izhar Rahmat, told The New Paper that he had given the green light for banned bodybuilder, Shaifulhaq Ahmad Ishak, to compete in last month's National Championships.

Shaifulhaq was one of seven bodybuilders who tested positive for banned substances at last year's national championships.

He was given a two-year ban by Anti-Doping Singapore (ADS) - a subsidiary of the Singapore Sports Council - last August.

The ban was scheduled to end in September next year but, after serving just 11 months, Shaifulhaq, a 32-year-old personal fitness trainer, competed in the SBBF-sanctioned event at the Singapore Expo on June 29.

But, according to ADS, the SBBF chief has no jurisdiction to lift such a suspension.

In a response to TNP queries, Yeo Say Po, general manager of ADS, said: "Under ADS Anti-Doping Rules, the National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Committee (NADC) decides on the sanctions on athletes who have violated the doping rules and regulations.

"The respective NSAs (National Sports Association) must implement the sanctions accordingly. All athletes were given a period to appeal to the appeals committee following NADC's decision.

"After this period, no one, including the ADS and the NSAs, has the right to lift the ban."

Yeo added that SBBF had signed an Acceptance and Declaration (document) to adopt, abide and implement ADS Anti-Doping Rules.

Serious breach

She said: "They are well aware of the rules and the processes. If it is true that the SBBF has lifted the athlete's ban, it is a serious breach of the agreement between ADS and SBBF.

"Once ADS has completed its investigations, it will make appropriate recommendations to the Singapore Sports Council and the Singapore National Olympic Council, for their considerations on the next steps."

The National Championships were organised and funded by the World Anti-Aging Academy of Medicine (WAAAM).

Speaking to TNP, Rano, who is a special adviser to the WAAAM, said he had counselled Shaifulhaq for a duration of three months earlier this year.

"I was concerned for him and the other athletes because I felt they needed to understand the affects of the substances they had taken," said Rano.

"I explained to them the signs and symptoms of (the drug) testosterone, and how too much of it would be harmful to their health.

"Shaifulhaq showed he understood what he had done and the (drug) effects involved.

"He wrote me a letter of appeal in April, indicating that he really wanted to compete.

"I thought he deserved a second chance. It's the same with someone in prison who is let out early for good behaviour."

Rano said he did not inform or consult the ADS, but was simply acting on "past SBBF protocol".

The 51-year-old cited the case of former bodybuilder Ricky Wong, who was suspended for two years by the Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Federation (ABBF) in 2010 for testing positive at an event in Iran.

Wong had his ban lifted the following year after the SBBF made an appeal to the ABBF.

The appeal was approved by the Asian body, and Wong went on to win a gold medal at the South-east Asian Bodybuilding Championships in Myanmar in February 2012.

Rano defended Shaifulhaq's decision to compete.

"From Shaifulhaq's point of view, he simply understood that he was cleared from the ban," Rano said.

"If the decision to lift his ban is wrong, then it is my fault, not his. But I was just following how the SBBF dealt with such issues before my time."