China not to tolerate doping offenders at National Games

21:26, October 27, 2009      

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The 11th Chinese National Games have witnessed three doping scandals despite the organizer vowed to punish severely those who violated anti-doping rules.

China was at the heart of several major doping scandals in 1990s, but since then the country has been sparing no effort to clamp down on the use of any drugs.

Before the 11th National Games started, Chinese sports officials stressed in several different occasions the importance of holding "clean Games".

In a working conference before the opening ceremony, the sports minister, Liu Peng, said sportsmanship and anti-doping works were the keys to successful Games.

"Sportsmanship, disciplines and fighting against doping are more important than gold medals," he said.

The organizing committee introduced 14 new inspecting rules at this Games to pursue fair and smooth competitions.

In the track and field events where doping cases are more likely to happen, 30 to 50 percent of the athletes would be chosen to sit a written test before and during the Games.

Any athletes who are found to take banned substances would be kicked out of the competition and barred from competition for at least four years.

Yet some athletes still took the risks as Guo Linna, a female rower from Henan, Li Jie, a shooter from Inner Mongolia and women's100-meter dash champion Wang Jing, failed their doping tests in the games.

The 21-year-old Guo was expelled from the Games immediately, and later received a four-year ban and a fine of 15,000 yuan (2,183 U.S. dollars)from the Chinese Rowing Association.

Her coach, Zhang Hui, was disqualified for coaching for life as it was his second involvement in doping scandal. Henan Rowing Association was also given a warning.

Five days after Guo was expelled, the second doping case was reported from the shooting competitions, when Li was tested positive for propranolol, a banned beta blocker, which was used to prevent trembling in events such as shooting and archery.

Li's shooting results were stripped of and she was still waiting for further punishments.

The quadrennial Games was further stained by Wang when she was tested positive for elevated level of epitestosterone metabolites and testosterone after her 100m final on October 22nd.

The 21-year-old Wang and her coach Chen Hua were later banned from race competitions for life by the Chinese Athletics Administration Center, the track and field governing body.

"We have intensified our efforts to fight against doping problems," deputy head of the anti-doping department of the organizing committee, Zhao Jian, told Xinhua.

"Gold medalists may receive big prizes from local governments, including money, apartments, and even entries to universities. It is not surprising if they are willing to take the risks," Zhao said.

According to Zhao, the organizers set up thirty doping test labs to fight against doping at the Games, and a total of 2,300 urine and blood samples would be tested, a 20 percent increase compared with four years ago.

"Our attitude is clear: We will not tolerate any drug offenders and will give severe punishments to those who dare to violate the rules," Zhao said.

"We will also pay more attention to educate young athletes. It is crucial to make them understand the side effects of taking drugs. We can enjoy sports, but sports are not shortcuts for fame and money," he added.

Source: Xinhua
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