Taiwan baseball player suspended
Friday, 15 August 2008

BEIJING, Aug 13 (bdnews24.com/Reuters) - Taiwan baseball infielder Chang Tai-shan has been suspended after testing positive for a banned substance and sat out his team's opening Olympic win over the Netherlands on Wednesday.

The International Amateur Baseball Federation (IBAF) said it had been advised of Chang's failed test and had suspended him pending the results from his B sample.

"The IBAF has been advised of a possible anti-doping rule violation by a player from the Taiwan team," the IBAF said in a statement. "As a result, the player Chang Tai-shan has been provisionally suspended pending the analysis of the B sample and a formal hearing."

Chang fell foul of a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) check carried out before the Games.

Chang was initially listed on the Taiwan lineup for their game against the Netherlands but failed to appear on the field for introductions.

The absence of the hard-hitting third baseman had little impact as Taiwan cruised past the Dutch 5-0.

"We learned about the news yesterday afternoon and it is very regrettable," Taiwan manager Hong I-Chung told reporters.

"I have already notified all the players on our team and told them that since now we only have 23 players we should give an even better performance during the Games.

"I feel today they did their job and did a good job."

The positive test is another blow to baseball's chances of being reinstated to the Olympic programme.

Major League Baseball's failure to effectively counter the use of performance-enhancing drugs and its refusal to shut down mid-season to allow baseball's best players to take part in the Olympics are viewed as the two main reasons that led to the IOC voting the sport off the Summer Games roster after Beijing.

A member of the Sinon Bulls, Chang holds the Chinese Professional Baseball League's all-time home run record of 204 and represented Taiwan at the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

The player may have taken a Chinese cold medication that contains a banned substance, an official with Taiwan's Olympic Committee told Reuters. Players were advised to avoid these medications during the Games, he said.

"The medications are not illegal, but they're banned for Olympics athletes," he said. "I'm not clear on what happened. I'm not a doctor."

Baseball is Taiwan's most popular sport. Taiwan will play long-time political rival and host China on Friday.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong's Communists won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists fled to the island.

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