Olympics: Taiwan apologizes for Lin's suspension

2016/08/10 12:26:47 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Steven Chen (陳士魁), leader of Taiwan's delegation to the Rio Olympics

Steven Chen (陳士魁), leader of Taiwan's delegation to the Rio Olympics

Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 9 (CNA) The head of Taiwan's delegation to the Rio Olympics apologized on Tuesday after female weightlifter Lin Tzu-chi (林子琦) was suspended because of an abnormal doping test.

Lin was considered to be a gold medal contender in the women's 63-kilogram division in Rio on Tuesday, but her absence opened the way for her main rival, Deng Wei (鄧薇) of China, to win the gold with a record-breaking combined lift total of 262 kgs.

The previous record was held by Lin at 261 kgs., set at the Asian Games in 2014, but her performances had not been as good since then.

She only managed a sixth-place finish at the World Weightlifting Championships in November 2015 with a combined lift of 238 kgs.

"As the leader of Taiwan's Olympics delegation, I take full responsibility for a failure to win a medal in the weightlifting event," said Steven Chen (陳士魁), who is also vice president of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC).

"We disappointed everyone in Taiwan."

Taiwan's Olympic delegation decided to withdraw Lin from the competition after receiving a report on Aug. 5 pointing to abnormalities in a doping test.

"Taiwan always follows the highest standards in doping tests to ensure that competition is fair and protect athletes' rights," Chen said.

"So we have decided to temporarily suspend Lin Tzu-chi from competition and make it clear to everyone that there is no room for compromise on doping."

Chen also said the decision was based on guidance from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). He did not provide any details on the abnormal doping test.

The coach of Taiwan's weightlifting team at the Olympics, Tsai Wen-yi (蔡溫義), was cited by Chen as saying he was saddened by the news of the abnormal doping test.

It was not the first time Lin failed a doping test. She tested positive for taking a banned substance before the 2010 Asian Games, and while she insisted she had mistakenly taken an illegal drug, she was still suspended for two years.

Sports Administration Director-General Ho Jow-fei (何卓飛), who is currently in Rio, also expressed regret over the situation.

Ho said Lin was one of the athletes under close watch by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and any tests involving her drew attention from the federation.

He said the test was done in Taiwan before the Olympic Games and sent to Japan for testing. The results came back on Aug. 5, and Japan sent a copy to the (IWF), he said.

"WADA requires that if an abnormal test is confirmed, then the athlete must be temporarily suspended from competition," Ho said. "We had to make this decision, as regrettable as it is. We also call on athletes to be careful in what they use."

The abnormal result was not immediately made public to prevent it from affecting the morale of Hsu Shu-ching (許淑淨) and Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳), who were competing in women's weightlifting events on Aug. 7 and 8, respectively, according to local media.

Taiwan's delegation in Rio said Lin's suspension will make it harder for Taiwanese athletes to achieve the goal set by the Sports Administration of three golds, two silvers and bronze at the 2016 games.

Taiwan has won three medals at the Rio Olympics after four full days of competition. It has won a gold and a bronze medal in women's weightlifting and a bronze medal in the women's team event in archery.

It is one of 24 countries to have won a gold medal in Rio so far and one of 16 countries to have won at least three medals.

(By Lin Chin-wei, Tsai Chia-yi and Frances Huang)

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