Badminton doping case is revisited
Zhou Mi, badminton's former No 1 in the world, is expected to appear at a press conference today as she renews efforts to clear her name from a two-year doping suspension.
The Badminton World Federation imposed the ban 14 months ago after traces of the steroid Clenbuterol were found in her system during a routine dope test in June last year. A number of recent studies have linked Clenbuterol in humans to chemically enhanced meat products, particularly pork produced on the mainland.
Zhou, a bronze medallist for China at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, before playing for Hong Kong in 2007, has insisted that she is innocent.
A source close to the case said Zhou had recently been informed that the banned substance in her sample was of a very low concentration. This finding could raise her chances of restoring her reputation, particularly in light of recent cases in which bans were overturned because of similar low concentrations in athletes.
'We know Clenbuterol can be found in contaminated pork, which is not uncommon in China, and if the amount is very low, the player could have a strong case to argue,' said the source.
'However, it is too late for Zhou to appeal against her ban because it has been more than a year since she was suspended. She is doing this probably because she wants to prove her innocence. Having been out of competition for so long and at the age of 33, it is unlikely she could make a successful return.'
After the ban was imposed, Zhou returned to the mainland, where she got married and is reportedly expecting her first child.