Three athletes have been found guilty of doping at the 27th South-east Asia (SEA) Games last December in Myanmar.
To combat this scourge, the organisers of the 28th SEA Games here in June next year will become the first hosts of the biennial Games to introduce blood testing on athletes.
A relatively new method in this field, the measure is used to detect growth hormones and Erythropoietin, or EPO.
This was announced by Dr Teh Kong Chuan, chairman of the 28th SEA Games medical committee yesterday, after revealing the errant athletes caught last December.
Two are from Myanmar - Min Zaw Oo, winner of the men's 80kg bodybuilding gold medal and Saw Mar Lar Nwe, who won the women's 20km walk.
Both will be stripped of their medals and disqualified.
Brunei's 400m runner Ak Hafiy Tajuddin Pg Rositi also tested positive for banned substances.
The South-east Asian Games Federation will recommend to the two National Olympic Committees that the guilty athletes be banned for two years.
As such, Thailand's Khuntal Phuangphet and Vietnam's Thi Thanh Phuc Nguyen, silver medallists in the bodybuilding and walk events, respectively, will be awarded the golds instead.
However, it remains to be seen if Indonesian swimmer Indra Gunawan has to return his medals - a silver in the men's 100m breaststroke and a gold in the 4x100 medley relay.
He tested positive for a banned substance during the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in South Korea last July but was given only a three-month sanction by the Indonesian anti-doping body, allowing him to compete at the SEA Games, according to Dr Teh.
But Fina, swimming's world body, held their own hearing later and slapped a two-year retrospective ban on the swimmer.
It is understood that the swimmer may be bringing the case up to the Court of Arbitration of Sport and Dr Teh said they will take necessary action when the situation becomes clearer.
This article was published on April 30 in The New Paper.
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