CYCLING

'Careless action' that may have cost cyclist Steven Wong everything

Rider insists skin cream caused positive test, as star Lee says athletes need to be more careful

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 4:39am

Steven Wong defended himself over his failed dope test yesterday, insisting that he has always been a clean rider and that one moment of carelessness caused the failed test which has earned him a two-year ban.

It emerged on Monday that Wong, who won a BMX gold medal for Hong Kong at the Asian Games in 2010 before switching to professional road racing with the Champion System team, had tested positive for steroids last April and been suspended by the International Cycling Union.

Wong read out a prepared statement to the media yesterday, but refused to take any questions regarding the incident.

"I have had basically no problem with any doping test ever since I started racing," said the 24-year-old. "I have always been completely fine.

"Even when I got my doping test in April - the one which came back positive - on exactly the same day, the day before, and the day after, I had blood tests which were all clean.

"Only this urine test came back positive."

Wong claimed a skin cream had caused the positive test.

"I had a severe cut in my groin at that time and it just needed to heal. It was a very careless action as a professional athlete because I just basically used it and didn't consult the team doctor or any other resources. Now I am carrying the consequences myself."

London Olympic Games bronze medallist Lee Wai-sze, who returned from her double World Cup success in Mexico last night, refused to comment on Wong's case, but said she treated medicines extremely carefully.

"If you don't know the medicine, don't use it," she said. "The Sports Institute, the Hong Kong Anti-Doping Committee and other agencies have provided a lot of information on doping. They can offer help to athletes if we have any problems."

She did not fear Wong's case would damage the image of Hong Kong athletes.

"There are very few doping cases found in Hong Kong athletes and I am sure in the eyes of the general public and the authorities, they still have confidence in us," she said.

Lee, who is now top of the world rankings in sprint and keirin after being crowned overall World Cup champion in both disciplines in Mexico, is also confident cycling will remain in the next Olympic Games despite the Lance Armstrong scandal.

"I don't think they would kick our sport out just because of one individual case," she said.

Lee's next target is a medal at the World Track Championships in Minsk, Belarus, next month.