KUALA LUMPUR: A 16-week pregnant Yuan Yufang has pulled out from the Laos SEA Games athletics squad and her late withdrawal has irked the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU).
In fact, the national body are contemplating taking action against the 33-year-old walker for being late in informing them about her pregnancy and withdrawal.
“She should have informed us earlier so that we could prepare another walker to replace her in the Games,” said MAAU deputy president Karim Ibrahim yesterday.
“Now it is too late to look for a replacement. We will have a council meeting in Ipoh on Nov 20 to will 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 China-born Yufang made her debut in the 1997 Jakarta SEA Games and she bagged three silver medals in the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m.
Two years later, she switched to the 20km walk event, winning the gold medal at the Brunei Games.
She has since dominated the walk event in the Games, winning gold in KL 2001, Vietnam 2003, Manila 2005 and Korat 2007.
In 2001, Yufang gave birth to baby boy and recovered in time to qualify and win a gold in the 2001 KL Games.
Karim said although they had lost a sure gold (through Yufang), MAAU were still confident of bagging eight gold medals in Laos.
MAAU are banking on high jumper Lee Hup Wei, walker Teoh Boon Lim, 400m hurdler Noraseela Khalid, pole vaulter Roslinda Samsu, hammer thrower Tan Song Hwa and the men’s 4x400m to deliver the gold medals in Laos. - NST