The World University Games were yesterday rocked by a doping scandal and the aftermath of an ugly soccer brawl between Thailand and Mexico.
Six days into the competition, the Games joined other recent international multisports competitions that have been hit by positive doping tests, including the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar last year, the Winter Olympics in Turin and the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.
The head of the doping commission at the University Games yesterday told reporters that there have been positive drug tests, but would not say how many athletes or identify them.
"We can't provide details at this point, but there have been some positive tests," said Lawrence Rink, chairman of the FISU Medical Commission. "The details would remain private until the appeal process is over. With every case that is positive, we also keep WADA [the World Anti-Doping Agency] informed."
US-born Rink said the penalties for the positive tests could vary.
"In case of a first offense, the penalty could vary from a warning to a two-year suspension," he said.
"For instance, if an athlete bought a decongesting medicine at a drug store for a cold two days before he was tested positive, it may be an inadvertent use and the penalty would be milder than a case with use of steroid," Rink said.
"Of course, if the person has been tested positive before, there would be reasons to believe it is not an inadvertent use. For medal winners, they would have to give up the medals," he said.
"The details will not be made public until the appeal process is over," Rink said. "In fact, there have been some criticism on that but that is the process that we follow."
Four players were eventually red-carded from the soccer match, which Thailand won 1-0 on Monday to qualify for the semi-finals. Officials and the International University Sports Federation (FISU) yesterday considered whether sanctions will be taken against both teams, and Thailand team officials later apologized for the melee which also involved spectators.