The World Anti-Doping Agency will study allegations of cover-ups of positive drugs tests by Chinese swimmers following claims in a British newspaper.
The Times reported on Thursday that it had been approached by whistleblowers in Chinese swimming who said that five positive tests had been kept secret.
It also said that coach Zhou Ming had been working with swimmers in Tianjin. Zhou was banned by world governing body FINA in 1998 after overseeing the scandal at the world championships in Perth, Australia, when four swimmers tested positive and vials of human growth hormone were discovered in a swimmer’s bag by Australian customs authorities.
“These are very serious allegations concerning Chinese swimming that warrant further examination,” WADA spokesman Ben Nichols said. “WADA is now fully scrutinizing the information that The Times newspaper has passed on to us so that we can determine exactly what the appropriate steps are and so that we can address this matter head on.”
China’s anti-doping agency responded to the allegations by saying it had recorded six recent positive tests by Chinese swimmers and denying any cover-up.
Zhao Jian, deputy director of the Chinese agency known as CHINADA, said it had recorded three positive tests, all for clenbuterol, in late August and early September. The swimming federation will soon issue punishments in those cases and the results will be made known, he said.
Zhao said there have also been three positive tests since the beginning of 2016, all in January, but those remain under investigation and will be publicized within 20 days of punishments being issued in accordance with WADA regulations. He said the World Anti-Doping Agency has been kept informed about all positive tests.