Ex-Silat champ banned for doping

Saiedah Said.

Former world champion Saiedah Said has been banned for two years after failing a drug test at the 38th National Pencak Silat Championships on April 14.

The 2005 Sportsgirl of the Year tested positive for the banned substances Nor-Sibutramine and OH-Nor Sibutramine, which are oral anorexiants, or appetite suppressors.

This is the first time a Singapore silat exponent has tested positive for a banned substance.

On Wednesday, the National Anti- Doping Disciplinary Committee (NADC) announced her two-year ban, under which she cannot participate as an athlete or support personnel in any sport for the duration of the ban.

Her results, medals, points and prizes attained at the National Championships have also been forfeited.

The 28-year-old was informed by Anti-Doping Singapore (ADS) - the division within the Singapore Sports Council that implements and manages an anti-doping programme for sport in the country - of a possible violation on May 21, and she asked for a second test to be done.

The second sample subsequently came back positive, confirming the initial result.

Saiedah, a two-time SEA Games bronze medallist, has until June 17 to submit an appeal to the NADC.

Mr Sheikh Alaudin, chief executive of the Singapore Silat Federation (Persisi), said: "It is really a case of unfortunate misinformation. Saiedah's mother was giving her a traditional health tonic from Malaysia or Indonesia and didn't check what was in it."

He added: "I know that ignorance is not an excuse, but we will definitely try to appeal for her because she did not intentionally violate the anti-doping rules."

But Ms Yeo Say Po, deputy director of ADS, noted: "Under the World Anti-Doping Code... it is ultimately the athletes' sole responsibility to ensure that anything that they ingest does not contain any prohibited substance."

Mr Sheikh said that Saiedah was shocked to learn about the result and had cried. Persisi convened a meeting and drafted the athlete's appeal on Thurday. Since the inception of ADS in 2010, the only seven doping cases that have been detected in Singapore have come from last year's National Bodybuilding Championships.

Mr Sheikh said: "Saiedah did not take steroids or anything similar. I hope the committee will see this appeal through."

Ms Yeo, however, noted: "This case is a reminder to all athletes to be always mindful of what they consume, to avoid falling foul of any anti-doping rule violation."

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.

Become a fan on Facebook