Sat, 29 Apr 2000

KONI supports urine tests to detect illegal drugs use

BOGOR (JP): The National Sports Council (KONI) will support sports organizations that undertake urine tests on athletes suspected of using illegal drugs.

After witnessing the Thomas and Uber Cup teams simulation at the Padjadjaran Stadium on Thursday night the council's vice chairman, Arie Sudewo, said KONI and all its members had declared war against illegal drugs at the national plenary meeting in February.

"Our young athletes are expected to do well in international events so we must protect them from the bad influence of illegal drugs."

Arie was responding to news that some sports organizations, including the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) and the All Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI), were organizing urine tests to detect the possibility use of illegal drugs by their athletes.

"If the organizations want to undertake tests, KONI will support them. I urge all organizations to arrange similar tests. This is not to look for people's faults but it is necessary to protect our athletes from consuming drugs."

"KONI has yet to take action from a medical point of view because we hope the organizations will initiate the action. Athletes belong to their organizations. Should there be some which need our help, we will provide."

Arie said the environment was the main factor behind someone becoming involved in illegal drugs.

"Illegal drugs not only threaten our athletes but the entire younger generation throughout the country."

Arie, who is also the Olympic Games executive training director, said if there were athletes found to be using drugs, the sports community should not rush to condemn them.

"We must give them medical therapy to stop them from taking drugs. We should not leave them alone but hug them. We don't kick them out of our community but urge them to have therapy for some time before they are cured and able to return to our community."

As KONI has yet to formulate regulations on illegal drug consumption, Arie said the council would study the matter before legislating on it at the plenary meeting in January.

Separately, men's badminton player Taufik Hidayat was shocked to learn his association was planning to stage urine tests, as the association's executive director Karsono said earlier this week.

"PBSI must confirm who is involved with drugs. It really gives us bad a image. We are ashamed to leave the dormitory as people are suspecting us."

"What if none of us are using drugs. Won't PBSI be ashamed of having announced it first to the press?"

Karsono said PBSI suspected 10 shuttlers of consuming illegal drugs and would undertake urine tests to prove its suspicions.

World number two men's singles shuttler Hendrawan, a former board of players deputy, said he had no ideas on the matter.

"I don't know if any of us are taking illegal drugs because I don't have any evidence."

Men's doubles specialist Sigit Budiarto and Flandy Limpele said: "I'm sure none of us are taking illegal drugs because we all realize the consequence of taking such drugs. I personally won't do that foolish thing," said Sigit, who was banned for a year in 1998 for consuming banned substances.

Flandy said: "I was very shocked to hear the news. I don't believe any of us will consume illegal drugs. What for? It would be detected anyway in a doping test."

Kompas reported about 60 football players were taking illegal drugs as a way to stimulate their physical condition prior to matches.

Persebaya player Eri Irianto was suspected to have died due to a drug overdose. Doctors have claimed he suffered from a "brain injury". (yan)