(Reuters) – Indonesia and Thailand will ask the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to reconsider its decision to declare them non-compliant, representatives of the two countries said on Friday.
WADA announced on Thursday that the National Anti-Doping Agencies (NADOs) of North Korea and Indonesia were ruled to be non-compliant for not implementing effective testing programs.
Thailand was declared non-compliant after failing to fully implement the 2021 Anti-Doping Code, WADA added.
Indonesia’s sports minister Zainudin Amali told reporters that the country wrote to WADA on Friday explaining that the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented it from extracting enough samples from athletes and sending them to WADA.
The pandemic resulted in most sports events around the world being cancelled or postponed last year.
“This caused the sample requirement to not be fulfilled,” Amali said, adding that Indonesia’s government hoped to send WADA ‘ample’ samples from a nationwide sports event being held in the easternmost Papua province.
A spokesman for Indonesia’s badminton association said three tournaments in Bali — the Indonesia Masters, Indonesia Open, and BWF World Tour Finals — would proceed as planned in November and December despite the WADA sanction.
The declaration of non-compliance means the three countries are ineligible to be awarded the right to host regional, continental or world championships during their suspension.
Representatives of the countries are also ineligible to sit as members of the boards on committees until their nations are reinstated or for a period of one year, whichever is longer.
The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) said they would petition WADA next week to reconsider the non-compliance ruling.
Thailand has finished amending the text of its anti-doping regulations to be in compliance with WADA’s 2021 Anti-Doping Code, but the document has not been published for enactment due to internal legal processes, SAT Governor Gongsak Yodmani said.
“We will explain to WADA that we weren’t ignoring the problem. We will proceed with enacting the law as soon as possible,” Gongsak added.
The law could be published as a decree instead to speed up enactment and it will be in effect before the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, he said.
(Reporting by Stanley Widianto in Jakarta and Panarat Thepgumpanat in Bangkok; Writing by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)