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Feb 19, 1998

Two athletes test positive for drugs, may lose medals

When you don’t usually win a whole lot of medals it really hurts when you have to give them up. But that’s exactly what may soon happen to some members of Belize’s contingent to last year’s Central American Games. On Tuesday the Olympic Association was informed that two Belizean medalists had tested positive for controlled substances. Ana Marie Ku, who played first base on our silver medal softball squad, tested positive for metabolic phentermine. Ku said she was taking the diet pills “Duramin” at the time and did not know they contained any banned drugs. In the case of Matthew Anderson, the silver medal racquetballer, he showed traces of pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold medications. Anderson was suffering from severe flu during the games and may have taken a heavy dose of Nyquil. Many observers believe he would have won the gold had he been healthy. The tests, which were done by a Canadian laboratory, will be repeated on a second sample, and if these come back positive the medals will be taken away from Anderson as well as the entire women’s softball team. The total medal count, which had only a week ago increased to seventeen after Ian Smith was awarded a bronze in cycling, would then be reduced to 15. Other athletes testing positive for drugs included four from El Salvador, four from Guatemala, three from Honduras, two from Nicaragua and two from Costa Rica. This is not the first time Belize has been defeated by drugs. Four years ago in the games held in El Salvador, Belizean-American medalist Althea Moses had her gold repossessed when she tested positive and for the stimulant Ephedrine. She said it was an ingredient in her herbal tea. In a release received late this evening from the Belize Amateur Softball Association both Ku as well as official Pat Bennett expressed apologies to the Belizean public and vow to overcome the setback and compete harder in the future.

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