SINGAPORE: The top local woman finisher at the 2018 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) has been suspended from competition for three years and nine months by the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Athletics Integrity Unit.
In a statement released on May 15, the IAAF’s Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said that Lim Baoying, who had clocked 3hr 16min 35sec to become the marathon’s top Singaporean woman, “had no excuse” for her consumption of modafinil, a banned substance.
In addition to the suspension, Lim’s result in the SCSM has also been disqualified, said the AIU.
Lim said that she consumed medication - a quarter of one tablet of modafinil 200mg - on the morning of the event, without considering the list of prohibited in-competition substances.
According to Lim, a resident physician at the Changi Sports Medicine Centre, this was to battle sleepiness before the race.
After the marathon, Lim said she then declared her medication consumption on the anti-doping form before going for the urine test within the same day, in accordance with race requirement for top finishers.
Upon discovering she had flouted the doping rules when checking the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances for in-competition participants, Lim decided to touch base with AIU via the race organisers and the relevant parties to inform them of her medical consumption, and to relinquish her title as the Singapore Female Champion of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2018.
The local female runner-up for the race was Rachel See, who finished with a time of 3hr 18min 35sec.
“The athlete is an experienced athlete and a physician specialised in sport who has served several times as a physician in Major Sport Events (including the Youth Olympic Games) over the past decade,” said the AIU.
“The athlete failed to exercise even the most elementary caution; in short, she has no excuse.”
According to anti-doping rules, the suspension length for a violation that does not involve a specified substance is four years, unless the athlete is able to demonstrate that the violation was unintentional.
However, the AIU said that Lim was not able to establish this.
This was because modafinil was deemed to have been taken “in-competition” according to the definition of the anti-doping rules.
As such, Lim was unable to demonstrate that the substance was used out-of-competition in a context unrelated to sport performance, said the AIU.
“The athlete asserts that she had no intention to cheat because she ingested modafinil before the event in order that she could stay awake after the event,” added the AIU.
“The AIU does not consider this explanation for the athlete’s ingestion of modafinil sufficient or credible to explain why the athlete ingested one quarter of a tablet of modafinil prior to participating in the event.”
Given Lim’s “prompt admission” of her violation, she received a reduction in the mandatory period of the suspension, said the AIU. The suspension kicked in from Feb 8 this year.
The World Anti-Doping Authority and Anti-Doping Singapore can appeal against the decision said the AIU. If such an appeal is filed, Lim will be entitled to exercise her right of cross-appeal.
CNA has reached out to Lim for comment.