“False” accusations: Beijing defends itself against suspicions of doping by its swimmers

The Chinese reaction was expected. On Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbi refuted doping accusations against 23 Chinese swimmers, calling the accusations “spurious.” This statement follows revelations from the New York Times and German public television ARD, according to which swimmers tested positive in early 2021 for trimetazidine, without being suspended by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

According to the journalistic investigation, these checks took place a few months before the Tokyo Olympic Games, in which 13 of the 23 athletes concerned participated. An investigation carried out by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, then a report written by the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency (Chinada) and submitted in March 2021, concluded that there was food contamination. This version was presented again by Wang Wenbi on Monday.

“I would also like to emphasize that the Chinese government has always maintained a zero-tolerance position on doping,” he insisted. We strictly comply with global regulations and resolutely protect the physical and mental health of athletes. »

Under fire for its supposed laxity towards these Chinese athletes, WADA indicated via a press release on Saturday that it “was not able to refute the possibility of contamination as the source of trimetazidine”.

“Not a systemic phenomenon”

Monday morning, Australian coach Denis Cotterell also rejected these doping accusations in the daily The Sydney Morning Herald. The latter has worked directly with the Chinese Federation for more than ten years and has trained star Sun Yang. “We can’t say right away that everyone is a cheater,” he said. But it’s very suspicious given the circumstances and the fact that it hasn’t been disclosed. »

Denis Cotterell denied the “systemic” nature of these multiple accusations. “It’s very far from what I saw,” he pleads to the Australian newspaper. I see what they [les nageurs] cross, I know the facts. » However, this is not the first time that Chinese swimming has been involved in doping scandals. At the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima, seven Chinese swimmers tested positive for steroids. In 1998, swimmer Yuan Yuan was banned after Australian customs discovered large quantities of growth hormone in her luggage during the World Championships in Perth.

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