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False doping alarm on Day 1 of Chinese National Winter Games

(Xinhua)

09:57, January 05, 2012

CHANGCHUN, Jilin Province, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The "clean" image of the Chinese National Winter Games was tested on Wednesday as a reported doping offence that questioned a speed skater's qualification eventually proved false.

An anonymous source told the Chinese version of Yahoo! website on the first competition day of the Games that hosts Changchun team's speed skating star Sun Longjiang was tested positive for clenbuterol in 2011 and thus should not be eligible for competing at the Jan. 3-13 Winter Games.

"We have been aware of Sun's positive result from his sample A urine taken last January during the national speed skating series," said Zhao Jian, spokesman for China's anti-doping center. "The athlete has been later cleared as he didn't intend to use performance-enhancing substance."

Sun, the defending men's all-around champion, was verified to have eaten contaminated food for the positive test.

"According to the related articles of World Anti-Doping Agency and regulations of the State General Administration of Sports, Sun was exempted from punishment," Zhao said.

Despite the off-field drama, the hosts deserved everything they claimed on Wednesday as their teenage ski jumper Ma Tong won the games' first gold medal in the women's normal hill ski jumping.

Ma, who represents Tonghua city at the Games, produced the best two jumps - 73 meters and 79 meters in the K90 event for the highest score of 151.5 points, 29 points ahead of teammate Li Xueyao who notched the silver.

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