Mainland to step up fight against drugs

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 October, 2007, 12:00am

Mainland authorities have announced a sweeping five-month anti-doping campaign involving six government ministries in a desperate bid to steer the country away from possible drug-related embarrassments before and during next year's Olympics.

While the State Sports General Administration - which is usually responsible for anti-doping efforts - will reinforce its house-cleaning initiatives among athletes and coaches, officials from the national drug safety watchdog and the Ministry of Health have been ordered to crack down harder than ever on suppliers of performance-enhancing substances, according to an edict issued by the State Council.

The Ministry of Commerce and customs authorities have also been told to give priority to tackling cross-border trade of the banned drugs. University principals and school masters will also be mobilised by the Ministry of Education to preach the anti-doping gospel to college and high school students.

The move comes after a fresh doping scandal implicating a Chinese Olympic hopeful.

Female triathlete Wang Hongni, a Doha Asian Games winner, has been banned for two years after her samples returned positive for steroids in a test carried out in August. Despite repeated promises by officials of a clean Olympics, many in the international sports community still have doubts about the dramatic rise of China's athletes.

The campaign is also believed to be a response to allegations China is a haven for the producers and traders of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

A recent US government investigation into drugs in sport claimed that 99 per cent of the raw materials were sourced from China.

The campaign will begin at provincial level by the end of the month.

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