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Thailand Appealing Doping Ban, Claims Dog Ate Its Homework

Thailand will appeal the ban on hosting regional, continental or world sports championships imposed by Friday by the World Anti-Doping Agency for the equivalent of not turning in its homework on time.

Sports Authority of Thailand Gov. Gongsak Yodmani said WADA declared Thailand non-compliant because it failed to fully implement the 2021 Anti-Doping Code. But amendments to anti-doping regulations are finished and simply not been enacted due to “internal legal processes”, he said.

So, with Thailand now unable to host major competitions and its athletes unable to compete under the Thai flag, the sports bureaucracy said next week it will ask WADA to reconsider its declaration if it promises to publish the new rules as a decree to speed up enactment before the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.

The WADA ruling is another embarrassing blow to Thailand’s international sports program, which often has skirted rules to get ahead, only to be slapped down by world regulators.

Thai weightlifters were banned from the Tokyo Olympics after the Thai Amateur Weightlifting Association and its athletes were suspended in March 2019 following positive doping tests by eight lifters at the 2018 world championships.

TAWA appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which upheld the Olympics ban, but allowed weightlifters to rejoin competitions in July. However, the sport has suffered such a body blow that its entire existence is now in doubt.

Thailand is among a number of countries whose weightlifting programs have been tainted by doping. WADA, on Friday, also ruled North Korea and Indonesia as non-compliant for not implementing effective testing programs.

Non-compliant countries are ineligible to be awarded the right to host regional, continental or world championships during the suspension and their representatives cannot sit as members of the boards on committees for up to a year.

Athletes can compete in regional, continental or world championships, but their national flags cannot not be flown, except at the Olympics.