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The case of 23 doped Chinese swimmers raises eyebrows

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The case of 23 doped Chinese swimmers raises eyebrows

The revelation of a large number of positive doping tests among China’s top swimmers is causing a stir in the sports world. The highest anti-doping authority defends itself against allegations.

Three of the 23 top Chinese swimmers tested for the heart drug trimetazidine won gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Giorgio Perottino / Imago

(dpa) In the affair surrounding a series of positive tests among top Chinese swimmers, the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) has defended its waiver of sanctions. “The agency remains committed to the results of its scientific investigation and the legal decisions in this case,” Wada said on Monday night. All allegations in the matter have been examined, but there is insufficient evidence to initiate new investigations, the authority added.

Media reports had previously raised doubts about the role of Wada and the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency in the fight against sports fraud. According to research by the ARD doping editorial team and the New York Times as well as a report by the Australian newspaper Daily Telegraph, 23 top swimmers tested positive for the banned heart drug trimetazidine at a national competition in China at the beginning of 2021.

At the Olympics in Tokyo in July/August 2021, the 30-member Chinese team won six medals, including three gold. “A few months before the Olympic Games, the suspicion of turning a blind eye or even covering things up must be clarified as quickly as possible. If there is such a serious suspicion of doping, then it must be independently examined by WADA,” said Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD).

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After examining the ARD documentation, WADA assured again that there was no reason to attack the Chinese authorities’ findings. They had determined that the positive doping tests were due to contamination in a hotel kitchen. Therefore, the swimmers went unpunished.

The German Swimming Association called for the events to be dealt with and fears for the credibility of the sport. Travis Tygart, head of the US Anti-Doping Agency, accused WADA and Chinese authorities of sweeping the positive tests under the rug.

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