Trimetazidine in Chinese swimming "mass-contamination event" and WADA's role in an alleged cover-up

Sylvia

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Creating a separate news thread here in Other Sports after 2 gifted NYT article links were shared with me:

Top Chinese Swimmers Tested Positive for a Banned Drug, Then Won Olympic Gold By Tariq Panja and Michael S. Schmidt (April 20, 2024)
This article is based on a review of confidential documents and emails — including a report compiled by the Chinese antidoping agency and submitted to WADA — and interviews with people involved in antidoping efforts around the world. Some interviews were conducted on the basis that sources not be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly or had concerns about retaliation.
During the course of the reporting for this article, journalists for The Times learned that a team from ARD, Germany’s public broadcaster, was also examining the episode. ARD shared some of its reporting and video footage with The Times and the two news organizations agreed to coordinate publication of their findings, which were arrived at independently.
Experts in antidoping, drug-testing and compliance interviewed by The Times said the handling of the case of the Chinese swimmers and the lack of disclosure about the positive tests ran counter to long-established precedents meant to ensure transparency, accountability and competitive fairness in elite sports.

Takeaways From Our Chinese Swimming Investigation By Tariq Panja and Michael S. Schmidt (including how WADA reacted differently in Valieva's case)

Nick Butler posted this 6 hours ago: “New information added to this thread [linked below] about positive cases involving Chinese swimmers.
A full ARD documentary will be broadcast over the weekend, made together with great colleagues @hajoseppelt @JMebus and Lea Loeffler” - lengthy Twitter/X thread here: https://twitter.com/nickjmbutler/status/1781551220823380204 (first 5 tweets are copied out below):
ARD Doping Editorial Team world exclusive after two-year investigation: Mass doping suspicion in China - WADA fails to act: 23 top Chinese swimmers tested positive in 2021 but were secretly cleared in time to compete at the Tokyo Olympics. With @hajoseppelt
The 23, which included Tokyo 2020 gold medallists – Zhang Yufei and Wang Shun, plus current World Aquatics Swimmer of the Year, Qin Haiyang, all tested positive in January 2021 for trimetazidine, the same substance taken by Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva
After months of silence, the athletes were all cleared of doping following an internal Chinese investigation, which supposedly found traces of the substance in the kitchen of the hotel where the athletes had stayed during their competition
This explanation was accepted by WADA, who accepted Chinese decision not to proceed with an anti-doping rule violation and avoid usual steps of provisional suspensions/public disclosure. No evidence the swimmers even DQ'd from competition at which the positive tests occurred
ARD, with shared reporting with @nytimes, has investigated this story for months and will broadcast a comprehensive documentary this weekend: "The China Files". Appears the story has been leaked to other media in advance. Seemingly somebody is trying to change the narrative
 
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Sylvia

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Hajo Seppelt (2 X posts): https://x.com/hajoseppelt/status/1781555375709274616
“ARD and New York Times have worked on that story for a long time. Interesting is: Just two days after we asked WADA and others for a comment the fact apparently has been leaked to other media. Obviously somebody tries to change the narrative in their way”

"Exklusiv ARD-Dopingredaktion: "Die Akte China": Massendoping-Verdacht in China - Die undurchsichtige Rolle der WADA | Verdacht der Vertuschung auf allerhöchster Ebene. Arm des chines. Geheimdienstes beteiligt. Mit ⁦@NickJMButler @LeaLoeffler":
By Hajo Seppelt, Nick Butler, Lea Löffler and Jörg Mebus (April 20, 2024) - translated excerpt from the beginning of the article:
The research by the ARD doping editorial team and the "New York Times" leads directly to the Middle Kingdom: It's about dubious events surrounding a national competition in China at the beginning of 2021, in which 23 top swimmers tested positive. And about a possible cover-up, in which the World Anti-Doping Agency watched in silence. And it's about a secret document, prepared under the supervision of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, which ultimately ensured that no one found out about one of the biggest suspected doping cases in sports history. It is the explosive “China Files” that gives the title to the ARD film from the “Secret Matter Doping” series. The document and its story have the potential to keep world sport in suspense well beyond this summer's Olympic Games in Paris. They are shaking up the fight for clean sport and placing a heavy burden on WADA.
 
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Sylvia

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WADA's statement:

ETA Adam Peaty’s response: https://x.com/adam_peaty/status/1781695350878732373
1. Why not release this information at the time, who really benefits from the lack of transparency and secrecy?

2. What happened to strict liability? Whether someone benefits or not, surely at this scale it proves it’s systematic?

So disappointing from WADA.
 
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On My Own

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April 19, 2024:

American swimmers have been notified that the Chinese women’s 800 free relay from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games due to a doping violation by a member of the relay.

That means the Chinese will be stripped of their gold medals and World Record swim of 7:40.33. While athletes were not told who tested positive, the members of the relay were Yang Junxuan, Tang Muhan, Zhang Yufei, and Li Bingjie in finals and Dong Jie and Zhang Yifan in prelims.

The United States relay finished 2nd in 7:40.73, which was also faster than Australia’s World Record of 7:41.50 going into that meet. Australia has since lowered the World Record to 7:37.50, but the American finals quartet should, in theory, be credited with a World Record retroactively.

That finals relay was Allison Schmitt, Paige Madden, Katie McLaughlin, and Katie Ledecky. Also swimming legs in the heats were Bella Sims and Brooke Forde.

{UPDATE} World Aquatics Denies That Chinese 800 Free Relay Has Been DQ’ed​

[UPDATE]: On Saturday morning, a spokesperson from World Aquatics has said that it is “not currently aware of any Anti-Doping Rule Violation that might lead to a disqualification of results obtained in competition, and resulting consequences, for the Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay at Tokyo 2020.” According reporting by Australian journalist Julian Linden, 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for a banned substance prior to the Olympic Games but were not suspended because of a contamination claim. Linden reports that World Aquatics looked into the case and accepted the Chinese decision, but that the ITA and USADA were concerned about the process. USADA contacted SwimSwam to deny the story late Friday night, but has not yet provided explanation as to why American athletes received a call from an individual representing the organization informing them that they would receive a promotion in the medal standings.

Which makes sense, reading the WADA statement, tbh.
 

Sylvia

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Christine Brennan: https://twitter.com/cbrennansports/status/1781781064823746813
"The World Anti-Doping Agency reacted to the first broadside by USADA CEO Travis Tygart with this: “It should be noted that following Mr. Tygart’s false allegations, WADA has no choice but to refer this matter to its legal counsel for further action.” So Tygart fired back:"
“It is disappointing to see WADA stoop to threats and scare tactics when confronted with a blatant violation of the rules governing anti-doping. When you blow away their rhetoric, the facts remain as have been reported: WADA failed to provisionally suspend the athletes, disqualify results, and publicly disclose the positives. These are egregious failures, even if you buy their story that this was contamination and a potent drug ‘magically appeared’ in a kitchen and led to 23 positive tests of elite Chinese swimmers.

Yes, there are contamination cases, and we’ve been advocating for years to change the WADA rules for those substances that can potentially cause contamination. TMZ is not in that category. And, most importantly, in all contamination cases that we have proven, we provisionally suspended the athlete, disqualified the results, found a violation, and issued an announcement as required by the rules. Transparency is the key to shining the light in the darkness, and here, by not following the rules, WADA and CHINADA have left clean athletes in the dark.”


Tygart's original statement today: https://www.usada.org/statement/statement-chinese-swimmers-positive-tests/
“It’s crushing to see that 23 Chinese swimmers had positive tests for a potent performance-enhancing drug on the eve of the 2021 Olympic Games, as reported by the New York Times and ARD. It’s even more devastating to learn the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency secretly, until now, swept these positives under the carpet by failing to fairly and evenly follow the global rules that apply to everyone else in the world.

Our hearts ache for the athletes from the countries who were impacted by this potential cover-up and who may have lost podium moments, financial opportunities, and memories with family that can never be replaced. They have been deeply and painfully betrayed by the system. All of those with dirty hands in burying positive tests and suppressing the voices of courageous whistleblowers must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the rules and law.”


ETA an AFP article that includes Tygart's statements:
 
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Sylvia

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Xinghua News Agency article in English (April 21) that echoes WADA's statement:

China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) Saturday criticized recent reports about Chinese swimmers as "misleading."

"CHINADA has noticed several foreign media organizations published and circulated misleading reports about Chinese swimmers testing positive ahead of the Tokyo Olympics," read a statement by CHINADA.

According to the statement, CHINADA conducted doping tests at a national swimming event in June 2021 and found swimmers testing positive for "extremely low concentration" of trimetazidine (TMZ).

"CHINADA immediately carried out investigation into the case from various respects including event organization, accomodation, usage of medicine and supplements as well as doping test procedures," it said.

Combining all investigation results and evidences, CHINADA came to the conclusion that the swimmers had tested positive for TMZ after inadvertently being exposed to the substance through contamination. It then decided the athletes should not hold responsible for the positive results.

"We informed WADA and FINA (now World Aquatics) about the progress of our investigation during the process and provided all evidences, decisions and relevant files. WADA agreed with our conclusion after thorough review," it said.


Excerpt from the WADA section of the article:
WADA mentioned the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) contacted WADA by e-mail in April 2023 about the TMZ cases.
"It advised WADA of a tip from an unspecified source that the positive TMZ cases had been hidden. This information was clearly erroneous in that the positive TMZ cases had been reported and decided by CHINADA, as well as thoroughly reviewed by both WADA and World Aquatics, nearly two years prior," WADA said.
WADA Director, Intelligence and Investigations, Gunter Younger, said: "The data held by us clearly showed that there had been no attempt to hide the positive tests as they had been reported in the usual way by the Chinese authorities."
CHINADA also said it would reserve the right to pursue legal action toward media publishing the improper information.
 
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Sylvia

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Latest NYT article (April 21):
Excerpt from the end:
WADA, citing “a lack of any credible evidence” to challenge China’s version of events, defended its decision not to take further action. It called any criticism unsubstantiated, even though it took a far harder line in a case involving a Russian figure skater only months later.
In that case, Russia was eventually stripped of a team gold medal, and multiple countries have appeals, seeking to upgrade their own finishes.
On Friday, the International Olympic Committee declined to comment on the positive tests, saying only that “anti-doping matters have been made independent from the I.O.C.,” and referring questions to WADA.
But with the antidoping agency adamant that it acted correctly and within its rules, there is no indication that any of the results of races will be affected, or any the medals reallocated.
 

Sylvia

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2-minute clip:
"There are so many questions," says documentary maker @hajoseppelt as the story of the failed doping tests from 23 Chinese swimmers airs in Germany today. "We don't say #WADA covered up something," he tells the Sports Ambassador podcast, "we just say according to our info...they would've been in a position to do so much more and they didn't."

The Sports Ambassador podcast episode (14 mins.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H_ht7qybtA
When 23 Chinese swimmers failed a doping test, German documentary maker Hajo Seppelt was amongst the first to know. His recent expose on doping in world sport has been released raising questions about whether WADA should have done more to investigate. WADA says it left no stone unturned, ultimately agreeing with Chinese anti-doping authorities that the swimmers had been accidentally contaminated by ingesting a banned substance. Seppelt says not enough questions have been answered.
The new film from the ARD doping editorial team in full length (45 min) is available to watch in Germany (and presumably with a VPN; Seppelt mentioned in the clip & podcast above that they will release it with English subtitles "soon"):
 
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On My Own

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China doping not a story at all
I must be imagining all the news stories currently as well as in China's past cases...?

I do agree that all this seems ridiculously secretive, and they need to reevaluate how to deal with these situations. I "buy" their explanations that they couldn't go and investigate due to the stringent anti-COVID policies and they did the best they could under the circumstance (well, I say that inexpertly, of course), but it still seems ridiculous overall.
 

skatingguy

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There has to be a reason why
Russia doping big story
China doping not a story at all
It's a big story now, and it's only just started. What it does demonstrate is the benefit of a high functioning sports bureaucracy in China that was able to work quickly to clean up the situation, and kept their athletes in the Olympics. This is the sort of thing we've seen in the past from the Soviet Union, and the US, but it's not a given based on the number of bungled cover ups we've seen in the past few years.
 

Karen-W

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Well, for starters, CHINADA isn't operating under the same restrictions as RUSADA - doping tests aren't sent out of the country like they were in Valieva's case, so right there, CHINADA had an advantage that RUSADA didn't have. Secondly, because RUSADA, the ROC and the RFSF screwed up royally by not inquiring why there was a delay in Valieva's test results from their Nats, so when the results finally did come in, it was during the Olympics and after she had already competed in the TE.

I firmly believe that had the ROC used Shcherbakova and Trusova in the TE instead of Valieva and then that test result came in, they would have covered it up and I'd bet hard cash that the IOC and ISU would have been perfectly fine with going down the "protected person" path for handling any disciplinary action. I'm not sure WADA would have gone along with that because this is Russia we're talking about.

A third reason I'd give for any cover up is that in spring 2021 as the Tokyo Olympics approached, the IOC was desperate to make sure that the Beijing Games the following winter went off without a hitch. WADA going public or challenging CHINADA's finding that this was a mass accidental contamination was not in the IOC's best interest.

Call me a cynic but those are the obvious reasons why this was covered up.
 

skatingguy

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A third reason I'd give for any cover up is that in spring 2021 as the Tokyo Olympics approached, the IOC was desperate to make sure that the Beijing Games the following winter went off without a hitch. WADA going public or challenging CHINADA's finding that this was a mass accidental contamination was not in the IOC's best interest.
That's an interesting point, but do we know that the IOC was aware of the positive tests?
 

Karen-W

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That's an interesting point, but do we know that the IOC was aware of the positive tests?
Probably not officially, but I can't imagine that no one at the IOC, especially on the IOC Executive Council, was unaware.
 

skatingguy

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Probably not officially, but I can't imagine that no one at the IOC, especially on the IOC Executive Council, was unaware.
But who's informing the IOC? WADA has no duty to report the tests to the IOC, and I sincerely doubt that CHINADA would do so. That's a big unanswered question at this point is who at WADA knew, and why wasn't the case reported publicly after it was resolved as an accidental ingestion. We know that cases are sometimes kept quiet during the investigative process - Jessica Calalang's case as an example - but then the information is published, and such cases help to move changes in doping regulations that aren't fair to the athletes, but that didn't happen here.
 

Karen-W

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But who's informing the IOC? WADA has no duty to report the tests to the IOC, and I sincerely doubt that CHINADA would do so. That's a big unanswered question at this point is who at WADA knew, and why wasn't the case reported publicly after it was resolved as an accidental ingestion. We know that cases are sometimes kept quiet during the investigative process - Jessica Calalang's case as an example - but then the information is published, and such cases help to move changes in doping regulations that aren't fair to the athletes, but that didn't happen here.
Read between the lines of my last response. Do I believe that anything was OFFICIALLY reported to the IOC? Not likely. Do I think EVERYONE at the IOC, especially key members of the IOC Executive Council, were unaware of some issue with the Chinese swimmers? Puh-leeze. These people have cocktails and casual conversations and who knows what sort of information is dropped in those "hypothetically speaking, how would the IOC react to this?" type of sidebars.
 

Sylvia

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NYT follow-up article today:

Excerpts:
In many ways, the fight over the Chinese positives is one about process. In all but the rarest circumstances, any athlete who tests positive for a powerful banned drug like the one in question, trimetazidine, is subject to at least a provisional suspension while an investigation takes place. There is no evidence that happened in the case of the Chinese athletes.
The back and forth brought a longstanding feud between world antidoping officials and their American counterparts into public view. In an interview in March, WADA’s director general, Olivier Niggli, had previously expressed annoyance with the U.S. antidoping agency, and Mr. Tygart.
“Everything we do they criticize,” Mr. Niggli said.
WADA said it had referred Mr. Tygart’s most recent comments to its legal department. But WADA and the Chinese antidoping agency also threatened legal action against news media outlets who reported information they characterized as “misleading.”
It is unclear, though, what can or will happen next. WADA is standing by its handling of the Chinese swimmers’ positive tests. World Aquatics, the organization that governs swimming internationally, told The Times that it believes the positive tests were handled “diligently and professionally, and in accordance with all applicable antidoping regulations.”
And on Sunday, China’s best swimmers contested the third day of the country’s Olympic trials. Some of the swimmers identified for testing positive in 2021 will again be front and center, including Zhang Yufei, who won four Olympic medals at the Tokyo Games, including two golds.
 

Sylvia

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German Press Agency dpa (Deutsche Presse-Agentur) article today:
German Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser has called for a rigorous investigation after reports that 23 Chinese swimmers failed doping tests ahead of the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, where several of them competed after all were cleared.
Faeser, who's also responsible for sports, told dpa on Sunday that the reports have shaken confidence in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the global fight against cheating in elite sport.
"Just a few months before the Olympic Games, the suspicion the case was ignored or even covered up must be fully investigated as quickly as possible. If there's such a serious suspicion of doping, then it must be independently investigated by WADA," Faeser said.
The new film from the ARD doping editorial team in full length (45 min) is available to watch in Germany (and presumably with a VPN; Seppelt mentioned in the clip & podcast above that they will release it with English subtitles "soon"):
SkatingScores has watched and posted a summary of highlights in this X thread - some excerpts: https://twitter.com/SkatingScores/status/1782057792913690960
🇩🇪-lang ARD Doku that spawned the Skandal around the 23 🇨🇳 swimmers who tested positive for TMZ w/o consequence is now available (VPN required), but no EN subtitles. Interesting that a concealed Chinese source appears on film: "To talk about what happend there, is very dangerous"
OK, correction: this is NOT an actual CN source appearing on-screen. It was presented as such in the intro clips of the film, but it is made very clear later
Timeline:
• Jan 2021: The 23 swimmers tested positive.

• Mar 2021: CN officials didn't input the positive tests into the WADA reporting system until March – Doku claims this is within the rules tho. Meanwhile, no temporary suspensions for the athletes.

• April 2021: CN Olympic swim trials featuring all 23 athletes who failed tests back in Jan. The CN Internal investigation (including the alleged kitchen search) also began around this time.

• June 2021: The CN investigation was not completed with the publishing of written report until June. Report claims the Athletes are not at fault due to contaminated hotel kitchen.

• July 2021: Tokyo Olympics begin. when that topic arises in the film that this is a "re-created scene", and NOT the original source on camera.

OK, a CN whistleblower does in fact appear on camera after all… Xue Yinxian from an interview 🇩🇪ARD held with her in 2021 (apparently not directly related to this case). For almost 40yrs, she was a Doctor in CN elite sport. Defected in 2017 bc she felt she was in danger due to trying to battle doping there, which she saw first-hand there beginning in the late 1970s. Preserved & presents many medical records from her time.
🇩🇪ARD actually hired experts to run scientific tests involving TMZ in several kitchen scenarios.
On the one hand, they did find that TMZ mixed with spices and cooked on a stove top could indeed later be detected on the kitchen surfaces. But after cooking just a single TMZ pill in a soup, the amounts found on the kitchen surfaces were far higher than those reported in the secret CN kitchen report.
So they tried just rubbing TMZ pills extensively on their hands and then tested to see if any traces rubbed off: none.
They even tried dropping individual TMZ pills down stairwells to see if they would break or leave traces: none.
They are convinced that only explanation for the "trace" amounts of TMZ found in the swimmers' test results would be weeks of taking the substance before the event.
According to ARD info, the 🇺🇸 FBI is now investigating the case too. // Ende
 
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airgelaal

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But who's informing the IOC? WADA has no duty to report the tests to the IOC, and I sincerely doubt that CHINADA would do so. That's a big unanswered question at this point is who at WADA knew, and why wasn't the case reported publicly after it was resolved as an accidental ingestion. We know that cases are sometimes kept quiet during the investigative process - Jessica Calalang's case as an example - but then the information is published, and such cases help to move changes in doping regulations that aren't fair to the athletes, but that didn't happen here.
Why not? On the contrary, it was in their interests to inform the IOC and hint that if this became known, they would refuse to host the Olympic Games in 2022.
Whatever the russians say, neither the IOC nor WADA like extreme decisions when it comes to such authoritarian and powerful countries as russia or China. These countries have too much influence and money. And let's be honest, not many people would want to "accidentally" fall out of a window.
 

Sylvia

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Sydney Morning Herald article by Tom Decent (April 22):
Excerpts:
Veteran Australian swimming coach Denis Cotterell has launched a passionate defence of Chinese swimming, vehemently rejecting claims of systemic doping after a drug scandal that has rocked the sport ahead of the Paris Olympics.
In a rare, exclusive interview, Cotterell has spoken about what it is really like inside the Chinese Swimming Association, where he has worked as a coach for the past two years.
Cotterell, who coached Grant Hackett to multiple Olympic gold medals and also mentored star swimmers Giaan Rooney and Daniel Kowalski, says he has had an on-and-off association with the Chinese Swimming Association since 2009.
He famously coached Chinese Olympic champion Sun Yang, who has almost finished serving a four-year ban for tampering with drug samples and breaking anti-doping rules.
Cotterell is not authorised to speak on behalf of Chinese Swimming Association and said he was “on a hiding to nothing” by agreeing to an interview but wants to fight for his integrity.
The 74-year-old says he stands by his swimmers “100 per cent” and is adamant that any positive test results were not part of a state-run doping program.
“Am I confident that it’s not dastardly? Not for one minute [do I believe that]. I wouldn’t be here,” Cotterell told this masthead over the phone from the pool deck at China’s Olympic swimming trials in Shenzhen.
“I am happy to say I’m absolutely in support of my swimmers and dispute any suggestion of anything orchestrated.
“I see what they go through. I see the measures. I can tell you the stories. I know the facts and I am comfortable.
“The suggestion that it’s systemic is so far from anything I have seen here the whole time. That suspicion was unfortunately earned from 30 years ago in the 1990s. They are so adamant on having clean sport.
“It’s sad to see what this suggests or looks like. It’s unfortunate for everyone. I feel for the athletes here because of how hard they work now to eliminate the tag that was garnered in the ’90s.”
Cotterell accepts that the process followed by swimming officials and anti-doping agencies could have been better and stressed it was out of athletes’ hands.
“I can understand if they [other athletes] are [upset], that’s their prerogative,” Cotterell said.
“I sympathise on other fronts for other reasons. How it was handled, that’s the point of conjecture. I know what they have to endure here. It’s sad that their names are caught up in unfortunate circumstances beyond their control. How that’s handled, well, that’s beyond their control. I feel for the athletes.
“It was an unfortunate administrative process that happened. It unfortunately allows that doubt to come out and to surface. I can’t prove anything, I just know the truth. I’ve seen what I can live with and what I’m seeing. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion on it.”
Cotterell says that from the age of 14, Chinese swimmers are not allowed to eat in public because of the risk that food could be contaminated with a substance on WADA’s prohibited list.
Cotterell said kitchen conditions at the camp in Shijiazhuang, according to one of the coaches present, was “atrocious”.
“People who come to China know that contamination is an issue,” Cotterell said. “It’s an unfortunate aspect of being here. Plenty of people come and know they can’t eat out on the streets.
“If it was contaminated, it’s unfortunate. It’s really, really sad because that is the risk and that obviously happened.
“I’ve got one of my friends here who was the coach there through COVID. The camp they went to, the conditions were atrocious, he said. If those people don’t buy the right food or meat, that’s going to be an outcome.”
Asked if all food was normally prepared for Chinese swimmers, Cotterell said: “Hell yeah. If they go to a camp situation and the chefs are there, they are going to trust they aren’t buying the wrong food. It’s a consistent risk. They are not allowed to eat outside anywhere. When they go on a plane, they can’t eat the food.
“We were held up for six hours recently. They were stuck in the airport. They can’t go and eat any food anywhere. The national training base had to prepare food and send it to the airport for the kids to eat. That is their daily life. That’s the precautions and sacrifices they take to avoid that risk.”
Cotterell said he wasn’t working directly with Sun and revealed it was all but certain he would not be selected in China’s team for the Olympics, which begin in July.
“He’s asked me to coach him … but I’m with China swimming,” Cotterell said. “He’s been swimming but he’s been working on his own. [...]
“It would be good if the facts were put out there [so people] understand it’s conclusive that he can’t swim because he’s not at these trials. There is no way he can qualify. That’s it.”
When it was put to Cotterell that the Chinese Swimming Association may have discretionary powers to select Sun, he replied: “From what the rules are, I guess anyone can speculate that there are discretionary powers. I don’t know.”
Cotterell says he is unsure exactly which 23 swimmers tested positive before Tokyo. He says China’s swimmers have no option but to get on with training and try not to let it affect them.
“I see the emotion from it. It’s undeserved in my view,” Cotterell said.
“They [swimmers] have to go get their head around it. You put yourself in the same position. To be put under suspicion because of this, after working for years for their achievements, to be implicated by this, is just sad. People can make their own judgment on that.
“I’m looking at these people daily and I have seen the facts. I’ve known some of these people since 2009. That’s 15 years they’ve committed and trained and achieved success.”
Cotterell has no regrets about taking the role with China and loves what he does, even if this latest episode may have further tainted the country’s reputation.
“I’m upset by it and for the athletes,” Cotterell said. “I know my own integrity. People say, ‘you don’t see everything [that goes on]’. Well, no.
“I’m 100 per cent supportive of my athletes. That’s consistent with everything I stand for. I’m OK with it. I will stay with my team until Paris and do the best I can to help the athletes who I am working with get the best result. It’s drawn me back to coaching. I did what I did in Australia for so many years. I love the sport.
“I’ve been in contact with my Aussie mates and we’re always all good and they’re going great.
“I’ve given you enough to clarify my position.”
 
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Former Lurve Goddess

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For who Xue Yinxian is: https://www.insidethegames.biz/arti...laims-10000-athletes-doped-in-1980s-and-1990s

Former Chinese Olympic doctor claims 10,000 athletes doped in 1980s and 1990s​

I remember there were huge whispers about Chinese swimmers in the 90s although very few actually caught doping. There's a new book out about Ben Johnson that looks into whether he was sabotaged during the Seoul Olympics, in that he was doping but not necessarily with what he was caught with. Haven't read the book, but I believe it also looks into the other sprinters who may have been doping at the time.
 

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