China names Olympic swim team amid doping uproar
text size

China names Olympic swim team amid doping uproar

Review continuing of recent allegations about positive tests prior to Tokyo Games

Zhang Yufei of China celebrates her gold-medal win in the women’s 200m butterfly at the Tokyo Olympics on July 29, 2021. (Reuters)
Zhang Yufei of China celebrates her gold-medal win in the women’s 200m butterfly at the Tokyo Olympics on July 29, 2021. (Reuters)

China has named a 31-member swim team for the Paris Games next month featuring six Olympic gold medallists, while a review continues of a doping case involving the country’s swimmers before the Tokyo Games in 2021.

China’s team for Paris includes Olympic women’s 200m butterfly champion Zhang Yufei and men’s 200m individual medley winner Wang Shun. It also features men’s 100m freestyle world record holder Pan Zhanle and the 100m and 200m breaststroke world champion Qin Haiyang.

In April, The New York Times and the German broadcaster ARD reported  that 23 swimmers had tested positive for the prescription heart drug trimetazidine (TMZ) — which can enhance performance — ahead of the pandemic-delayed 2021 Tokyo Games.

China cleared the swimmers of wrongdoing, declaring the positive tests were the result of being inadvertently exposed to the banned substance through tainted food at their hotel. The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) accepted its finding.

After the media reports emerged in April, Wada said it would send a compliance team to China to assess the country’s anti-doping programme.

Wada’s decision not to punish the swimmers and allow them to carry on competing provoked intense criticism, particularly from the United States.

There was also anger at how the case emerged, via media reports rather than official channels. A number of leading swimmers said it had undermined trust in the global anti-doping system.

American seven-times Olympic gold medallist Katie Ledecky said faith in the anti-doping system was at “an all-time low”.

“It’s hard going into Paris knowing that we’re going to be racing some of these athletes,” she said in a TV interview last month.

Wada vigorously defended its processes before announcing it would launch the independent review.  

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (12)