Sports medicine expert says cyclist Wong excuse 'cannot be true'

Sports medicine expert says disgraced cyclist's explanation for failing drug test does not make sense and urges athletes to check medicines

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2013, 3:44am

A sports medicine expert has described disgraced cyclist Steven Wong's explanation of his failed drugs test as "not true" after the rider's two-year ban was made public last week.

Wong, who won a BMX gold medal at the Asian Games in 2010 before switching to professional road racing with the Champion System team, tested positive last April for exogenous steroids (also known as anabolic steroids) and was subsequently banned by the International Cycling Union.

Last week, Wong blamed the use of a skin cream to treat a severe cut in his groin for the positive result. He also said that blood tests conducted the day before and after the positive test on his urine had come back negative.

But Yvonne Yuan Wai-yi, head of office at the Hong Kong Anti-Doping Committee, said: "This cannot be true. There is a big difference between the steroids found in a skin cream and the steroids for which he tested positive. Moreover, a negative blood test does not mean the absence of steroids use."

Yuan explained that glucocorticosteroids can be found in skin creams and that such creams are not on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of prohibited substance. Wong, she said, has tested positive for anabolic steroids, which help athletes build muscle.

As for the blood tests, Yuan added that these tests were to detect blood doping or the use of human growth hormones and had nothing to do with exogenous steroids.

"We don't want to guess the reason why the athlete offered the excuses that he did," said Yuan. "We just want to let people know that what he has said does not make any sense.

"In fact, many athletes have accidently taken health supplements that have contained steroids. We always advise athletes to check the nature of any medicine they take and if they are not sure, they are welcome to contact us."

Yuan said the committee would organise an anti-doping seminar for Hong Kong team riders when they return from overseas competitions in March.

London Olympic Games bronze medallist Sarah Lee Wai-sze said last week she treated medicines extremely carefully, adding: "If you don't know the medicine, don't use it."

Wong, whose contract with Champion System has been terminated, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Hong Kong Cycling Association has said it would consider giving him a second chance after he serves his ban. The 24-year-old quit the Hong Kong Sports Institute in 2011 after switching from BMX to professional road racing and has not since ridden for Hong Kong.