BANGKOK, Aug 14: The World University Games were rocked on Tuesday by a doping scandal and the aftermath of an ugly soccer brawl between Thailand and Mexico.
Six days into the competition, the Games joined other recent international multisports competitions that have been hit by positive doping tests, including the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar last year, the Winter Olympics in Turin and the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.
The head of the doping commission at the University Games said on Tuesday that there have been positive drug tests, but would not say how many athletes or identify them.
“We can’t provide details at this point but there have been some positive tests,” Dr Lawrence Rink, chairman of the FISU Medical Commission, said. “The details would remain private until the appeal process is over. With every case that is positive, we also keep the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) informed.”
Four players were eventually red-carded from the soccer match, which Thailand won 1-0 on Monday to qualify for the semi-finals. On Tuesday, Games officials and the International University Sports Federation (FISU) considered whether sanctions will be taken against both teams, and Thailand team officials later apologised for the melee which also involved spectators.
American-born Rink said the penalties for the positive tests could vary.
“In case of a first offence, the penalty could vary from a warning to a two-year suspension,” Rink said. “For instance, if an athlete bought a decongesting medicine at a drug store for a cold two days before he was tested positive, it may be an inadvertent use and the penalty would be milder than a case with use of steroid,” he explained.
“Of course, if the person has been tested positive before, there would be reasons to believe it is not an inadvertent use. For medal winners, they would have to give up the medals.”
Rink said the athletes would not be identified at this stage. “The details will not be made public until the appeal process is over,” he stated. “In fact, there have been some criticism on that but that is the process that we follow.”
Earlier on Tuesday, China’s Chu Yafei won the men’s 20-kilometre walk in a time of 1hr, 24 min, 37sec. Park Chil-sung of South Korea took the silver and Japan’s Morioka Koichiro the bronze.Mohamed Fadil added the 10,000 metres to his half-marathon gold on the final night of athletics. Chad Latourette of the US won the men's 1,500 metres on the final night at the pool, capping a strong meet for the American swimmers.
The US led the pool competition with 26 medals – 10 golds, eight silver and eight bronze. Japan was second with 15 medals overall.Danai Udomchoke of Thailand, the No. 1 seed in the men’s tennis competition, won his fourth straight match, defeating South Korea’s Nam Hyun-woo 6-0, 6-3 on Tuesday in the quarter-finals.
The US women’s basketball team, led by Erin Floyd’s 16 points, beat Taiwan 66-55 in a consolation game.
The win gave Team USA, being represented by the Charlotte 49ers, a 4-2 overall record and a shot at fifth place. The Americans face Turkey on Wednesday.—AP
(Tabulated under gold, silver, bronze, total):
Russia 23 15 29 67
China 20 19 21 60
Ukraine 18 18 14 50
Japan 13 13 10 36
South Korea 13 12 15 40
Germany 11 5 7 23
United States 10 9 10 29
Thailand 8 7 7 22
Italy 5 4 8 17
Kazakhstan 5 3 4 12
Canada 4 2 7 13
Iran 4 1 3 8
Taiwan 3 4 7 14
Belarus 3 4 5 12
Austria 3 2 3 8
Australia 2 5 3 10
Turkey 2 3 4 9
Hungary 2 3 0 5
Morocco 2 1 0 3
Switzerland 2 0 2 4
Finland 2 0 0 2