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November 16, 1998 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Sigit Budiarto of Indonesia, part of the reigning world men's doubles champions in badminton, was suspended for one year effective today by the International Badminton Federation. Budiarto's suspension came after two urine samples taken from the world champion after the Singapore Open championship in August tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid Nandrolone.

A committee of the world association conducted a hearing in Singapore today on the test results and received statements from a representative of the drug-testing laboratory, Budiarto and representatives of the Indonesian badminton association. The suspension was handed out after the committee hearing.

Budiarto was also fined 2,000 US dollars. Additionally, he and his partner Chandra Wijaya were stripped of the Singapore Open championship and the duo have to return the 10,000 US dollar purse that they won in Singapore.

Budiarto could have received a maximum two-year suspension. However, Budiarto is reported to have stated that he did not know that medication he was taking contained the banned substance. According to sources familiar with sports drug cases, this as well as the fact that Budiarto was a first-time offender weighed heavily in the committee's decision to suspend the player for only one year.

The lighter punishment means that Budiarto still has a chance to qualify for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, where he would have been one of the favorites for a medal. His one-year suspension ends on November 15, 1999. This gives him 5 months to gain a world ranking high enough to get into the Olympic Games.

In late 1995 and early 1996, it took Park Joo Bong, the great doubles player from Korea, less than 4 months to climb to the top of the world rankings in mixed doubles and thus qualify for the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Park won a silver medal in 1996 to add to his gold medal from the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Budiarto's 14,400 US dollar training grant from the Solidarity program of the International Olympic Committee was not affected immediately by today's suspension. The grant is not administered by the badminton federation. It is expected though that the Olympic body will take action soon after today's hearing.