HONG KONG sports chief A. de O. Sales has appealed for patience and a chance for China to prove that their recent high-profile doping cases were restricted to a limited number. Sales, president of the Hong Kong Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee, said China had to be left alone to investigate the cases of world champions Lu Bin, Yang Aihua and five other Chinese swimmers who tested positive for drugs at the Asian Games in Hiroshima. Sales was speaking at a press conference for the Epson swimming World Cup yesterday. The Chinese have decided to skip feeling that they needed a rest after the Asian Games and also because they were facing problems with entry formalities for travel to Hong Kong. The Chinese squad is virtually certain to miss the other World Cup events in Finland, France, Italy, Britain, Sweden and Germany. China, however, stressed their absence from the territory had nothing to do with the recent findings which determined that seven Chinese swimmers had taken performance-enhancing drugs at the Asian Games. A total of 11 Chinese athletes have been banned for two to four years for failing drugs tests at the games. Sales said the world should not point the finger at China just yet and that they should be given a chance to prove themselves. 'Let us give China a chance to find out for themselves what happened,' he said. 'Whatever has occurred has been restricted to a limited number of places,' he added. 'Every schoolboy knows the sports in which competitors are on steroids,' he said. 'Swimming is generally not one of them.' Sales said the World Cup meeting which is being held at Kowloon Park for the second successive year will continue to enforce strict doping controls. 'There will be random testing and all samples will be flown to China for drug testing. There are only three labs in this part of the world [Asia] that have top class doping centres recognised by the IOC (International Olympic Committee), and they are Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul,' said Hong Kong's most respected sports official. China have vowed to take unspecified steps to curb doping, which Beijing maintains is an isolated problem. Organisers have indicated that the door is still open for China should they make a last-minute change in plans and compete in the Hong Kong World Cup meeting scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday. In the absence of Lu, Yang and the other Chinese who dominated last year's World Championships, Hong Kong organisers admitted fewer world records would fall. The star of the Hong Kong leg of the World Cup should be Germany's Franziska van Almsick. She is reported to be preparing an attack on the world record in the 200 metres women's freestyle. Van Almsick set the current world mark of 55.84 seconds in Beijing two years ago. Three members of the German relay squad which broke the world 4 x 50 metres relay world record (one minute 38.01 seconds) in Norway four weeks ago will also be present. They are Silko Gunzel, Jirka Letzin and Mark Warnecke. Britain's Mark Foster, holder of the world best time of 23.68 seconds in the 50 metres butterfly, is also expected to be a force in the meeting.