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China denies athletes using banned drugs ahead of 2008

China denies athletes using banned drugs ahead of 2008

China yesterday rejected suggestions that it was planning to unleash doped-up athletes at next year's Olympics, saying it had greatly strengthened its testing systems to ensure they were clean.
"Some voices are saying that there are Chinese athletes training in secret (to avoid testing). That is groundless," Jiang Zhixue, a top official of the General Sports Administration, told reporters.
He and other top government and Olympic organizing officials spoke during a news conference held to stress China's anti-doping resolve ahead of a visit next month by World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound.
Pound has said China needs to dramatically ramp up its drug testing to avoid possible embarrassment when it hosts the Beijing Games next August.
Leading Australian coach Ken Wood said in March that he suspected China had a secret team of swimmers it plans to unveil next year, although he stopped short of accusing the Chinese of trying to evade drug tests.
The Chinese officials assured reporters the Beijing Games would be as clean as possible, saying China had dramatically increased testing of its athletes in recent years.
Jiang said China tested 9,424 athlete samples in 2006, compared with just 165 in 1990, and that the number of tests would surpass 10,000 this year.
Despite the more frequent examinations, positive tests had fallen from 1.8 percent of all samples in 1990 to less than one percent today.
"All in all, through the efforts of the past 20 years, anti-doping work in China has greatly improved," he said.
After a series of drug busts in the 1990s, China's reputation as a country committed to fighting doping in sport has improved in recent years despite some embarrassing setbacks.
These included the revelation in August 2006 that students at a sports school in Liaoning province were injected with drugs including testosterone, a growth hormone often used to build muscle strength, and EPO, a blood doping agent used in endurance sports.
Jiang conceded that such schools remain a potential problem.
"The (Liaoning) case demonstrates that, at the grassroots level, there are weaknesses," he said.


Updated : 2021-07-31 05:19 GMT+08:00