Asean Para Games: APG chef de mission unaware of Firdaus' arrest

Firdaus Nordin competed in December's Asean Para Games despite having been arrested on drug charges in February last year. He finished eighth in the men's 100m T54 (wheelchair) final. In his plea, he said he took methamphetamine to help him get in sh
Firdaus Nordin competed in December's Asean Para Games despite having been arrested on drug charges in February last year. He finished eighth in the men's 100m T54 (wheelchair) final. In his plea, he said he took methamphetamine to help him get in shape in time for the APG, which was held in Singapore. ST FILE PHOTO

Members of the local para-sports fraternity have reacted in shock to the news that former Asean Para Games (APG) gold medallist Firdaus Nordin has been jailed for five years for drug trafficking and consumption.

On Thursday, the 28-year-old wheelchair sprinter pleaded guilty to taking methamphetamine on Jan 31, 2015. He said it was to help him get in shape in time for December's APG, held in Singapore.

Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) vice-president and two-time Paralympian Raja Singh said yesterday: "I'm sad to see that our national athlete has taken a short cut.

"Which organisation will allow its athletes to take drugs? We (the SDSC) are a result-oriented organisation, but do not support resorting to such methods."

Firdaus, who was born with spina bifida, had won two golds and a silver at the 2005 APG in Manila. He finished eighth in last year's men's 100m T54 (wheelchair) final.

Raja, who was the Republic's chef de mission, admitted that he was unaware that Firdaus had been arrested in February last year, and had tested positive for methamphetamine.

Firdaus' APG team manager Loh Ngiap Kiang was similarly in the dark about Firdaus' arrest. He said: "I was shocked when I found out. It was only through the news that I learned about it."

It is understood that Singapore's track and field contingent were briefed about doping around June last year.

Para-athletes were randomly selected for drug testing in the months leading up to the APG.

Blade runner Lieu Teck Hua said: "Personally I wasn't tested, but I know that they carried out urine checks."

This is the second time in the past eight months that a para-athlete has been charged in court.

In October, motivational speaker and APG gold medallist Adam Kamis faced charges for offences related to procuring women for prostitution.

Despite Firdaus' mistakes, he deserves a second chance once he has served his sentence, said Raja.

He added: "The law has taken action, but he can come back. We won't close the door to him.

"I'm sure he will change. If the aspiration is there, why not (take him back)?"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 22, 2016, with the headline 'APG chef de mission unaware of Firdaus' arrest'. Print Edition | Subscribe