Five Vietnamese athletes named in SEA Games 31 doping scandal

By Hoang An   May 5, 2023 | 12:40 am PT
Five Vietnamese athletes named in SEA Games 31 doping scandal
Quach Thi Lan jumps over an obstacle in the women's 400 m hurdle event in SEA Games 31 in Hanoi on May 17, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
The identity of five Vietnamese runners that tested positive for banned substances in SEA Games 31 last year were revealed on Friday by the Vietnam Athletics Federation.

Besides the five Vietnamese runners, Quach Thi Lan, Khuat Phuong Anh, Vu Thi Ngoc Ha, Hoang Thi Ngoc and Le Ngoc Phuc, two athletes from Thailand, two from Myanmar and one from Indonesia were named.

All the athletes tested positive twice for banned substances at the Games in Vietnam last year.

According to regulations, all doping cases at the last event must be announced before the SEA Games 32 in the final meeting of the Southeast Asian Games Federation Council that took place on Thursday in Phnom Penh.

Lan won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze at the previous SEA Games, including a 400m hurdles individual gold medal and a 400m bronze medal. The 28-year-old runner also won a gold medal in the 4x400m relay for women and a silver medal in the mixed 4x400m relay.

Anh, 26, won a gold medal in the women's 800m and a silver in the 1,500m in SEA Games 31.

Ha, 23, won gold in the long jump, and a silver in the triple jump.

Ngoc won gold in the women's 4x400m relay, while Phuc won silver in the men's 400m and men's 4x400m relay.

The doping samples were tested a few months after the event. In September and October 2022, the five Vietnamese athletes were found to have their first sample positive for doping. In November, their second samples were also positive.

In a previous report sent to the Department of Physical Education and Sports, the athletes said they did not intentionally use banned substances, but may accidentally have got them from medicine or food.

Lan said she did not use any drugs in her preparation for Games 31 but had used a powdered drug to keep her awake during the competition, same as the four other Vietnamese athletes.

"Before taking it, I consulted the doctor and was approved to use it," Lan told VnExpress on Friday. "But this is a new tranquilizer that just hit the market and it hadn’t been tested. We couldn’t see the risks behind it."

The athletes who tested positive for doping will have results in the previous SEA Games removed. However, this did not affect the overall position of Vietnam at SEA Games 31 as the delegation won 205 gold medals, while Thailand ranked second with 92 golds.

"I’m really sad that SEA Games is around the corner but I can’t contribute anything for my country," Lan said.

According to the director of Vietnam Center for Doping and Sports Medicine and deputy head of the SEA Games 31 Health and Doping Control Subcommittee Nguyen Van Phu, the records of the athletes involved in doping have been transferred to the international sports federations and National Olympic Committee to handle in accordance with international anti-doping rules.

Normally, the penalty for doping cases will be decided by the international federation of the sport the athlete is competing in.

However, according to Tran Duc Phan, deputy director of the Department of Physical Education and Sports and head of the Vietnamese sports delegation attending SEA Games 31, the Asian Athletics Federation and the Vietnam Athletics Federation will work together to agree on the penalty for the Vietnamese athletes.

go to top