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China catches more drug cheats in furious anti-doping storm in 2008
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20:51, January 22, 2009

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The Olympic year witnessed China catch more violators in so tough crackdown on drug cheats.

China's State General Administration of Sport anti-doping chief Jiang Zhixue Wednesday revealed that a total of 24 athletes tested positive as 23 of them fell into the net woven by domestic anti-doping force.

The other positive case was found out by the International Amateur Athletic Federation.

Fifteen positive cases were disclosed in 2007.

"The largest scale and toughest crackdown on doping was carried out by China in 2008," said Jiang.

China conducted the record number of doping tests, 11167 in total, about 10 percent up from 2007, Jiang said.

The stepped-up efforts had been a trend in recent years and especially obvious in 2008 when the Beijing Olympic Games took place.

Chinese anti-doping force carried out more than 5,000 doping tests on potential Olympians ahead of the Games and two national team athletes, top swimmer Ouyang Kunpeng and national wrestling champion Luo Meng were caught and banned for life a couple of months before the Olympics.

Actually China had set up a pool of about 2,000 elite athletes in recent year to put them under close watch.

A government-led coordination group formed by different departments worked to curb illegal drug production and sales.

Eventually China honored its promise of sending a clean team to the Games.

Despite the good result on national team level, Jiang was concerned about drug offenses on lower levels.

The number of tests on non-elite athletes reached 5,088 with 21cases turned positive.

"The number of doping cases in provincial or lower-level teams are ten times of that in the national team," said Jiang. "Nine offenders are under 18. These teenage athletes accounted for a rather high percentage."

Professor Li Yingchuan from Capital Institute of Physical Education in Beijing put the number of young athletes below provincial level at around 800,000, not to mention those who attend school training.

Experts pointed out that tests alone were far from enough to curb doping in young players.

"Proper education is crucial," said China Anti-Doping Agency deputy chief Zhao Jian.

Head of the Chinese Olympic Committee Anti-Doping Commission Yuan Hong said they were trying to spread the anti-doping education to a wider scope.

"We are trying to add anti-doping knowledge into middle school books. Children should be aware of the risks of taking those drugs," she said.

Source: Xinhua

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