Taiwan weightlifter Hsu put on list of athletes banned for doping

Taiwan gold-medal-winning weightlifter Hsu placed on list of athletes banned for doping

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Hsu at Rio Olympics.

Hsu at Rio Olympics. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwanese weightlifter Hsu Shu-ching (許淑淨), winner of two Olympic gold medals, has been included in a list of athletes banned for doping provided to Taiwan's Olympic committee by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), reported CNA.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) this month sent a letter to the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee announcing the names and suspension period of athletes who used prohibited drugs. This list reportedly includes Hsu, who retired from weightlifting last year.

In 2016, Hsu, the silver medalist in the Women's 53 kg at the 2012 London Olympics was retroactively awarded the gold medal, after Kazakh weightlifter Zulfiya Chinshanlo failed a doping retest. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Hsu won the gold medal outright in the same category, ultimately making her the only Taiwanese athlete to win two Olympic gold medals.

The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee reportedly carried out a test for banned substances on Hsu before she entered the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships. The original results of the drug test were negative.

However, WADA believed that Hsu had abnormal blood profile results and required the anti-doping lab to use more sophisticated instruments for further examination. The retest confirmed the presence of banned substances in Hsu's system.

Hsu was then banned for three years by the Chinese Taipei Anti-Doping Agency, but she announced her retirement from the sport on Facebook in June of last year, citing serious hand injuries and an unexpectedly slow recovery. It was only when WADA's letter requested that the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee announce that all athletes taking prohibited substances be listed online before April 5 that Hsu's failed doping test came to light.

Hsu reportedly failed to participate in the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade due to a slow recovery from injuries. Hsu's camp said that the stress of trying to make the Universiade and approaching World Championships led to insomnia and caused her to use an excessive amount of sleeping pills.

Hsu's camp claims that the sleeping pills contained banned ingredients, which resulted in a positive result for banned substances after the retest.

Regarding the reasons why the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee did not publish the list of athletes who had failed doping tests and related information, such as the length of their suspensions, the committee said that it was protecting the privacy of all of the athletes. It insisted it was not giving Hsu special treatment.

Currently, Hsu and Lin Tzu-chi (林子琦), who won gold in the Women's 63 kg at the 2014 Asian Games, are on the list of athletes who have been banned for taking prohibited substances. The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee reportedly plans to announce relevant information about the suspended athletes before April 5.