SINGAPORE - Marathoner Lim Baoying has been banned three years and nine months by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) after testing positive for a banned substance at the 2018 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.
According to an AIU statement on May 15, the 37-year-old ingested "a quarter of one tablet of modafinil 200mg" before the Dec 9 event "in order that she could stay awake after the race".
She did not have therapeutic usage exemption for the medicine, which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) Prohibited List and prescribed to people with sleep disorders to help them stay alert or improve focus.
However, she declared her usage during doping control after the race, which she finished as the top local female runner in 3hr 16min 36sec. Lim, a resident physician at the Changi Sports Medicine Centre, said she realised only after the race that modafinil was not allowed, and contacted Singapore Athletics to relinquish her win.
Rachel See (3:18:36) and Hu Xiuying (3:18:57) were second and third respectively among the local women.
When contacted, a joint statement by Ironman Asia and the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon said Lim's ban "changes the official standings for the 2018 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon and includes forfeiture of any medals, titles, awards, points, and prize and appearance money in accordance with AIU rules".
It added that See has been elevated to the women's marathon Singaporean champion for the 2018 race, and "all prize money will be reallocated based on new result standings".
Lim could have been banned for four years for her violation, and while the AIU "does not consider this explanation for the Athlete's ingestion of modafinil sufficient or credible", the AIU and Wada reduced the ban by three months based on two considerations.
One, that Lim used "a non-specified stimulant, in-competition, shortly before participating" in the marathon, and that she "is an experienced athlete and a physician specialising in sport, who has served several times as a physician in Major Sport Events (including the Youth Olympic Games) over the past decade".
"The Athlete failed to exercise even the most elementary caution; in short, she has no excuse."
In the statement, both parties also reminded all athletes that they are "responsible for the choices they make when it comes to nutrition and medications taken.
"When seeking medical guidance, it is important to advise doctors that you are subject to anti-doping rules and follow the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) process if, or when, necessary."
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.