Six nations to make Winter Olympic debuts in PyeongChang

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Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore will make their Winter Olympic debuts in PyeongChang.

The athletes:

Klaus Jungbluth Rodriguez, Alpine Skiing (Ecuador)
Shannon Ogbani-Abeda, Alpine Skiing (Eritrea)
Albin Tahiri, Alpine Skiing (Kosovo)
Jeffrey Webb, Alpine Skiing (Malaysia)
Julian Yee, Figure Skating (Malaysia)
Seun Adigun, Bobsled (Nigeria)
Ngozi Onwumere, Bobsled (Nigeria)
Akuoma Omeoga, Bobsled (Nigeria)
Simidele Adeagbo, Skeleton (Nigeria)
Cheyenne Goh, Short Track Speed Skating (Singapore)

The International Olympic Committee has short bios on most of the athletes here.

The most pre-Olympic attention fell on the Nigerian bobsledders, all former NCAA track and field athletes who trained bobsled in Texas.

One of Onwumere and Omeoga will not compete in PyeongChang since only one brakewoman is allowed to compete. The current Olympic entries list has Omeoga entered as Adigun’s brakewoman.

Nigeria owns 25 Summer Olympic medals, making it the third-most successful Summer Olympic nation yet to compete in a Winter Games (Cuba, Indonesia), according to Olympic historians known as the OlyMADMen.

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Badminton: Indonesian duo Ahmad and Natsir take mixed doubles gold

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
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Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir have taken gold in badminton mixed doubles at the Olympics in Rio.

WATCH: Full match replay

The Wednesday win was fairly decisive, with Ahmad and Natsir taking 21-14 and 21-12 sets over Malaysia’s Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh.

Ahmad and Natsir lost the bronze medal match at the 2012 Games in London. Natsir took silver with Nova Widianto in the 2008 Games in Beijing.

World’s top-ranked badminton player fails drug test

Lee Chong Wei
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Lee Chong Wei, the world’s top-ranked badminton player, failed a drug test and has been temporarily suspended, according to reports.

“I have never cheated, not even made any attempt to cheat, thus this was like a bolt of lightning, destroying everything I had worked so hard for,” Lee said, according to a Malaysian blog.

The Malaysian reportedly tested positive for the banned substance dexamethasone at the World Championships in August, where he won silver, and could face a two-year ban.

Malaysian media first reported Lee’s failed drug test two weeks ago. Lee’s B sample results came back this week.

A Malaysian sports official called it an unfortunate and isolated case.

“I want to stress this is not a performance-enhancing drug,” Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told reporters, according to the Malaysian Star. “It shouldn’t affect [public] perception of badminton [in Malaysia]. This is not Ben Johnson or Lance Armstrong.”

Dexamethasone is a glucocorticosteroid, which falls under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list. Glucocorticosteroids are often called “steroids” but cover a range of legally prescribed substances taken orally, injected or by IV, including asthma and anti-rash medications, according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s athlete guide.

A substance is typically considered for the prohibited list if it meets two of the following three criteria:

  • It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance
  • It represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete
  • It violates the spirit of sport

Glucocorticosteroids are allowed to be prescribed for use outside of competition, as outlined by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Lee said he last received an injection of dexamethasone to treat a thigh injury July 18. It was out of his system by an out-of-competition test Aug. 15, Lee said.

“So it is indeed a mystery why this substance was found in my system in [the in-competition drug test] August 30,” he said in the blog post.

Lee, 32, won 2008 and 2012 Olympic silver, falling to Chinese star Lin Dan in both finals. Lee has also won three straight World Championships silver medals.

Lee is the only Malaysian to win multiple Olympic medals.

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