Next year's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore will be the first edition of the event to make use of blood testing, the Chef de Mission of the host nation has announced.
The recent failed drug tests of Malaysia's wushu exponent Tai Cheau Xuen and world number one badminton player Lee Chong Wei have sent shockwaves through sport in the region.
Xuen tested positive for the banned stimulant sibutramine, leading to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) taking away the gold medal she had won in the nanquan and nandao all-round event at the Asian Games.
Wei is due to learn his fate at a disciplinary hearing in Amsterdam on December 8.
Speaking at the meeting of the Chefs de Mission, at which the 11 competing countries previewed some of the tournament venues, Nicholas Fang confirmed that testing will now be introduced at the 2015 SEA Games.
"It's ground-breaking and it's a stricter protocol to catch drug cheats, which we also implemented for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games held here," said Fang.
"During the build-up, and not just at the Games itself, testing will also be carried out.
"Anti-Doping Singapore is also working with athletes to reinforce the point that there is no room for doping or cheating."
Cambodia National Olympic Council secretary general, Vath Chamroeun, also spoke of how his country had set up a National Anti-Doping Agency last year to educate athletes on how to avoid being caught up in drug scandals unwittingly.
"Coaches, athletes and sports federations have to control the doping issue strictly, and send out the message that doping can destroy their future," he said.
"Many athletes in Asia don't know what they are doing when they take certain energy drinks or use traditional medicine."
Southeast Asia has also picked up an unwanted reputation for being a match-fixing hotspot, and Philippines Chef de Mission Julian Camacho urged all countries to be on high alert.
"Match-fixing is not just happening in this region, but also in Europe," he said.
"While it may not be as rampant as doping, we still need to be on our toes."
Even though the spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremonies were sold out at last year's SEA Games in Myanmar, it was also noted for poor attendances in certain events, but Fang is confident of a good turnout next year.
"This will be a special SEA Games, which will be a big part of our [Singapore] SG50 [independence] celebrations," he said.
"It has been quite a while since we last hosted one in 1993, and there are a lot of expectations and excitement to watch the SEA Games at home.
"The buzz has been building for many years and our athletes have been doing well recently.
"It has also been announced that the events will be spread around the island and 50 per cent of the events will be free for the public to attend.
"So I'm confident there will be an enthusiastic crowd turning up to support the SEA Games."
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