COC vows to probe dop­ing cases of three weightlifters

Global Times - Weekend - - TOP NEWS - By Fan Lingzhi and Lu Wen’ao

The Chi­nese Olympic Com­mit­tee (COC) re­it­er­ated its zero tol­er­ance to dop­ing on Fri­day and vowed to in­ves­ti­gate the cases in­volv­ing three fe­male Chi­nese weightlifters af­ter the trio was stripped of gold medals won dur­ing 2008 Olympic Games by the world’s top sports body.

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) an­nounced on Thurs­day the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of the three fe­male Chi­nese Olympic weightlift­ing gold medal­ists Cao Lei (75 kilo­grams), Chen Xiexia (48 kilo­grams) and Liu Chun­hong (69 kilo­grams) along with five other ath­letes who com­peted at 2008 and 2012 Sum­mer Games.

“The COC con­demns the three ath­letes who vi­o­lated the spirit of sports­man­ship and Olympics for dop­ing,” the COC said in a state­ment pub­lished on its of­fi­cial web­site on Fri­day.

“The COC re­spects the de­ci­sions made by the IOC and will in­ves­ti­gate the cases with re­lated bod­ies … We are in sol­i­dar­ity with the IOC to pro­tect clean ath­letes and fight against dop­ing.”

The dis­qual­i­fied ath­letes should have the medal, the medal­ist pin and the diploma ob­tained in the re­spected dis­ci­pline re­turned, the IOC said.

The three Olympic weightlifters, in­clud­ing Chen who won China’s first gold medal at the 2008 home Games, all tested pos­i­tive for pro­hib­ited sub­stance GHRP-2 and me­tab­o­lite (GHRP-2 M2) af­ter re-anal­y­sis of their sam­ples from Beijing 2008, the IOC said.

A Chi­nese anti-dop­ing ex­pert who re­quested anonymity told the Global Times that the drug taken by the ath­letes stim­u­lates pro­duc­tion of growth hor­mones and sibu­tramine, with the lat­ter pos­si­bly serv­ing as a mask­ing agent.

“It is com­mon knowl­edge among all ath­letes that these sub­stances are pro­hib­ited. Un­less they have an ex­emp­tion for us­ing the drugs … It’s all il­le­gal,” he said.

The dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion leaves China fac­ing a ban on weightlift­ing from in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions for a year.

Weightlift­ing’s world gov­ern­ing body, the IWF, in­tro­duced the sanc­tion in 2016, aim­ing to crack down on dop­ing, which is rife in the sport. The IOC is keep­ing sam­ples from past Games for up to 1o years, con­duct­ing retests as newer test­ing meth­ods are de­vel­oped in an ef­fort to try to root out any cheats.

The re-anal­y­sis led by the IOC of the sam­ples from the Beijing and Lon­don Games have so far caught more than 100 dop­ing of­fend­ers.

Ath­letes in track and field and weightlift­ing might be more likely to be caught dop­ing be­cause the pro­hib­ited sub­stances, which en­hance the aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity of mus­cles, are most ef­fec­tive in im­prov­ing the per­for­mance of ath­letes in such sports, the ex­pert said.

Sev­eral West­ern media ac­cused China of state-spon­sored dop­ing, but the Chi­nese an­ti­dop­ing ex­pert said they are just an­a­lyz­ing cases with “dou­ble stan­dard.”

“There are also many ath­letes from West­ern coun­tries who were found us­ing pro­hib­ited sub­stances in re­cent years, but the global media usu­ally tries to paint their in­dis­cre­tions as per­sonal mis­takes,” he said.

“How­ever, when it comes to coun­tries like China, the is­sue be­comes ‘na­tion­ally or­ga­nized be­hav­ior.’ To some de­gree, it is a dou­ble stan­dard,” he re­marked.

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