SWIMMING

Chinese Olympic swimmer Chen Xinyi accepts provisional ban after dope test as rivals slam her

Chen did not swim the 50m freestyle heat as other swimmers expressed outrage about competitors taking drugs

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 August, 2016, 1:54am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 August, 2016, 8:27am

Swimmer Chen Xinyi has accepted a provisional suspension for failing a drug test as rivals in the women’s 50 metre freestyle in which she was due to compete on Friday expressed outrage over the latest doping scandal involving a Chinese swimmer.

The Chinese Swimming Association has confirmed that the 18-year-old swimmer tested positive for diuretic hydrochlorothiazide on August 7, the day she finished fourth in the 100m butterfly final.

Chen has applied to the International Olympic Committee for testing of her B sample and a hearing to look into the matter, said the association.

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“The athlete accepted a provisional suspension on a voluntary basis; as a consequence, the athlete is provisionally suspended from competing at the Olympic Games Rio 2016,” said a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) statement. “The procedure will continue and the CAS ADD [Anti-Doping Division] will issue a final award before the end of the Games.”

The IOC refused to comment because the case is ongoing, and reporters who tried to get some reaction from the Chinese delegation were similarly rebuffed.

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The IOC decided in March to delegate ‘adverse findings’ to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to determine if a doping violation had been committed.

“It won’t surprise you that I’m not going to comment on speculation about doping,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.

“As you know the IOC decided in March to delegate the decisions on alleged anti-doping rule violations to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and set up an anti-doping division the idea in general for future is that such things should be independent of sporting organisations and I think everyone agrees that’s a good way to go

“What does remain as in the past that should a procedure be underway there’s no communication from us at all, until the procedure is finished, the athlete is informed, then it will be communicated in the first instance by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“We will not comment on any athlete, any name, any Olympic committee until the procedure is finished which for reasons of justice I think is correct decision.”

Chen’s competitors were not slow to condemn her and other dopers after the 50m free heats.

Great Britain’s Fran Halsall, a three-time Olympian, admitted: “It’s getting a bit boring everyone going on about it [doping] if I’m honest.

“For me I just want to get in and I know that everything I’ve done has been in adherence to all the rules and regulations and if someone wants to cheat they should be kicked out “It’s hard to think about, it’s something you don’t want to think about when you’re here, once it’s done and dusted I’ll probably tell the world what I think about that kind of stuff.”

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Naomy Grand Pierre, who had just made history as the first Haitian woman to swim at the Olympics, said: “It’s really unfortunate, honestly. The athletes who made it to the Olympics, including myself, we trained really really hard. When you made it all the way to the Olympics, the only thing you hoped for is to have a fair race, an equal playing field. It’s really upsetting.

“I think she should definitely be suspended. It’s disrespectful to all the other athletes, and all the hardworks they are putting in. Everyone here is hoping for fair race and equal playing field. She’s disrepecting everything that everyone has hoped for. It’s very unfortunate.”

Arun Budcharern Siri from Laos said: “I am worried. I think it’s not fair.”

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Chen finished sixth in the 100m fly last summer at the world championships in Kazan. She won gold at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in the 50m free, 100m fly and 400m free relay – and in the latter two events she pushed Hong Kong athletes into fourth and third respectively.

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In the event any suspension was backdated, which is probably unlikely, Hong Kong could potentially have their positions from the Asian Games upgraded.

“I saw the news about her, but I don’t know if the Asian Games would be affected,” said Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey, fourth in the butterfly in Incheon.

Hong Kong’s Camille Cheng was part of the Incheon relay team and competed in the 50m heats on Friday. She said she didn’t want to comment on her China rival.

But she added of dopers in general: It’s definitely frustrating, I’m sure anyone would say the same thing – I feel like at some point they’ll catch up to them sooner or later.

“The only thing I can do is focus on myself, not spend energy on what other people are doing.

“This Olympics for me is about getting here and the journey I’d rather just focus on that experience and not have other things take away from that.”

Meanwhile, the IOC said they had carried out 2,395 dope tests at the Games so far.