Oddly Enough

Malaysia irked by pregnant athlete's pull-out

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A 16-week pregnant athlete faces sanction from Malaysian sports authorities for pulling out of December’s Southeast Asian Games, local media reported Friday.

China-born Yuan Yufang, a multiple gold medallist in the 20 kilometre walk at the regional games, had disappointed officials concerned at the loss of a genuine medal chance, The Star newspaper said on its website (

“She should have informed us earlier so that we could prepare another walker to replace her in the Games,” the paper quoted Karim Ibrahim, deputy president of the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union, as saying.

“Now it is too late to look for a replacement. We will have a council meeting in Ipoh on November 20 to determine what action to take against her.

“We are disappointed with her as we will lose a sure gold medal in the women’s 20km walk in the biennial Games.”

The 33-year-old Yuan had previously won gold at the 2001 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur after giving birth to a baby boy, the paper said.

The SEA Games will be held in Laos from December 9-18.

Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by John O’Brien