Turkmen wrestler becomes first doping case at Asian Games

The Asian Games has had its first doping case. (AFP pic)

JAKARTA: A wrestler from Turkmenistan became the first doping case at the Asian Games and has been disqualified, the Olympic Council of Asia said today.

Rustem Nazarov tested positive for the banned substance furosemide, a masking agent, in a pre-tournament test last week, the OCA said.

Nazarov “has been disqualified from the 18th Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games 2018… and his results during the competition held on the 19th August annulled”, a statement said.

The athlete, 24, had competed in the men’s 57kg freestyle event and was defeated in his first match by India’s Sandeep Tomar.

Six athletes tested positive at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon including South Korean swimming star Park Tae-hwan, who was stripped of his medals.

Other athletes from Turkmenistan, a Central Asian country, have failed doping tests at major sporting events in recent years.

Weightlifter Umurbek Bazarbayev failed a drugs test at a world championship event in the United States in 2015, and track athlete Yelena Ryabova tested positive at the 2013 world athletics championships in Moscow.

Turkmenistan’s sports chiefs have been under intense pressure to deliver success following a public dressing down from the country’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov after coming home empty-handed from the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Berdymukhamedov publicly rebuked sports committee chief Kaakbay Seiidov for failing to “justify the trust of the nation”, threatening to sack him if he did not “increase the sporting authority of the fatherland”.

In 2012, Berdymukhamedov fired a previous sports committee head after a similarly poor performance by the national team at the London Olympics.

Oil-rich Turkmenistan, with a population of five million, has never won a single Olympic medal, unlike its four neighbours in ex-Soviet Central Asia.