China to cooperate with doping investigation into swimmers


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China to cooperate with doping investigation into swimmers

CHINA. The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing, China, April 29, 2020.


The World Anti-Doping Agency will launch an independent investigation after 23 Chinese swimmers who tested positive for a banned substance avoided sanctions

China indicated on Friday, April 26, it will cooperate with an independent investigation into the events that led to 23 Chinese swimmers avoiding sanctions after testing positive for a banned substance months before the Tokyo Olympics.

Under mounting pressure over its handling of the initial case, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Thursday it would launch an independent review led by Swiss prosecutor Eric Cottier.

WADA said it would also send a compliance audit team to China to assess the nation’s anti-doping program and invite independent auditors to join the mission.

“CHINADA will actively cooperate with the coming audit by WADA, and provide assistance where needed,” said the China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) in a statement.

“We noted that WADA has invited an independent prosecutor from Switzerland to review its handling of the no-fault contamination case involving 23 swimmers from China, which is a clear demonstration of fairness, openness and transparency of WADA.”

Calls for an independent investigation have grown since the New York Times reported 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for trimetazidine (TMZ), a medication that increases blood flow to the heart and is used to treat angina.

The swimmers were cleared by a Chinese investigation which said they were inadvertently exposed to the drug through contamination. The report determined the swimmers were staying at a hotel where traces of TMZ were discovered in the kitchen.

WADA has vigorously defended its handling of the case, saying it had no evidence to challenge China’s findings and that external counsel had advised against appealing them.

“In the whole investigation process, CHINADA kept WADA and the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA now known as World Aquatics) informed of relevant progress, and submitted the evidence from investigation, decisions made by CHINADA and the full case files,” said CHINADA. “Conclusions from the investigation and the decision were accepted by both WADA and FINA.”

WADA’s explanation of events has not kept a lid on growing outrage led by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which has accused the global anti-doping body of a “potential cover-up” while dismissing the investigation and audit as toothless.

CHINADA fired back at critics, labelling the accusations as defamatory and misleading.

“These organizations and media have held misconceptions, made misjudgement, and released inappropriate reports and announcements,” said CHINADA. “The information they have published is clearly contrary to the basic facts.

The independent investigation launched by WADA is not without support.

Although USADA had harsh words for WADA, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) on Thursday called the investigation an important first step.

“Every athlete in America and around the world deserves competition that is transparent, fair, and free from doping,” said ONDCP director Rahul Gupta in a statement.

“While this is an important step in the right direction, we will continue to work with our partners and government leaders across the globe to ensure fair competition for every athlete heading into the Paris Olympics and beyond.” – Rappler.com

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