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Doping-Malaysian athletics official gets six-year ban

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian athletics official Karim Ibrahim has been hit with a six-year ban after he was found guilty of being involved in two doping cases, local media reported on Friday.

Ibrahim, a former Malaysian Athletic Federation (MAF) deputy president, would be forced out of his roles as vice president of the Malacca Athletic Association and as council member of the Asian Athletic Association, the Malaysian Star reported.

Ibrahim is the first Malaysian athletics official to be suspended whilst in office.

"The findings had enough proof of his involvement in both cases and we thank the independent panel for their findings," MAF President Zainal Abidin Ahmad told the newspaper on Friday.

"The suspension is based on the MAF's constitution. He also cannot appeal against the suspension as the council's decision is final. The case is officially closed."

The Star reported that Ibrahim told relay runner Mohd Yunus Lasaleh to take pills from a Bulgarian doctor which the official claimed were vitamins, only for the athlete to test positive for methandienone at the South East Asian Games last November.

Yunus and his team mates were then stripped of the 4x400 meters gold medal they won in Indonesia.

In the other case, former national head coach Harun Rasheed alleged Karim had told six sprinters not to give urine samples when requested by the National Sports Institute last year.

Karim could face further punishment from the World Anti Doping Agency after MAF file their report to the body.

"We want to clean up the image of MAF in the eyes of the public." the 71-year-old Zainal said.

"We will now focus our attention on athletes and coaches to lift the standard of athletics in the country."

(Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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