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China’s swim team for Paris under doping cloud

China named its swimming squad for the upcoming Paris Olympics, sparking controversy as 11 swimmers implicated in a prior doping scandal were included.

The selection comes after news reports in April revealed 23 Chinese swimmers, including those named in the Paris squad, tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine (TMZ) in late 2020 and early 2021. Chinese authorities claimed the positives were due to tainted food and no sanctions were imposed.

This decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the lack of transparency surrounding the case drew criticism, particularly from the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) who called it a potential cover-up. WADA has since announced a compliance audit team will visit China to assess their anti-doping program.

Adding to the controversy, The New York Times reported this month that three swimmers selected for Paris, including medalists from Tokyo, tested positive for another banned substance, clenbuterol, in 2016 and 2017. China again attributed this to contaminated meat and no action was taken.

Despite these accusations, China expects to be a major contender in swimming at the Paris Games alongside powerhouses like the US and Australia. However, their swimmers will face heightened scrutiny.

US swimmer Lilly King expressed frustration at the recent revelations, highlighting concerns about a level playing field. Australian head coach Rohan Taylor advised his team to trust WADA and governing bodies to continue investigations and uphold clean sport.

(Source: AFP)

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