The Chinese athletics association yesterday quashed a legal effort by one of the country's top runners to use a regional court ruling to side-step a doping offence. Sun Yingjie was banned for two years after she tested positive for androsterone after winning silver in the 10,000 metres at the National Games in October. She had won the Beijing marathon the day before but had passed that doping test. During an association inquiry, the 26-year-old Sun said she believed the banned substance was in a bottle of water a stranger gave her before the race, which she unwittingly drank. She later changed her story saying that her friend, Yu Haijiang, an athlete from the Qinghai provincial team, had slipped the drug into her gooseberry juice without telling her. Yu's coach is a brother of Sun's coach, Wang Dexian, who was banned for a year after Sun tested positive. Sun sued Yu in a local court in northeastern Heilongjiang province, demanding a public apology and 30,000 yuan in compensation. In court Yu pleaded guilty, saying he had found an unmarked bottle containing some liquid in a public toilet beside Tiananmen Square. He told the judge he did not know what the bottle contained but he drank some anyway and soon afterwards he felt very energetic. He said he believed it was a form of energy drink and slipped the rest of it into Sun's juice because he wanted to help her. 'I wanted to give her a hand. Sun is my idol and I am crazy about her,' he said in court. Sun said: 'From the beginning of the failed drug test I trusted in my innocence. I do not know how the athletic association can impose a punishment on me after this ruling.' But yesterday the association released a statement saying the court ruling would have no influence on its decision and the ban would stand. Zhang Yongliang, an anti-doping official with the association, said: 'It does not matter what reason or excuse an athlete has. Sun's A and B urine samples tested positive for androsterone. The fact is very clear. No matter who it is, as long as they test positive we will strictly enforce the rules.' He added that all Chinese athletes and coaches were taught ways to avoid inadvertently consuming banned substances. 'As a famous athlete, Sun Yingjie should be very clear about these requirements.' The World Anti-doping Agency regulations say the onus is on athletes not to consume banned substances, but if a person can prove they did not intentionally take illegal substances they can have their term of ineligibility reduced. As a World Championship bronze medalist Sun was considered one of China's brightest hopes for a long-distance medal at the 2008 Olympic Games. Over the weekend she was severely criticised on web forums by athletics fans on the mainland for her legal efforts to shirk the two-year ban. 'It was a low-level drama with bad actors and a plot too silly to describe,' according to a typical posting from one of the many who did not believe her story. 'Sun does not respect the intelligence of the Chinese people. She could lie, but does she have to tell lies in such a stupid way?' another asked. China's efforts to clean up its image suffered a severe setback at the National Games when at least 27 athletes tested positive for various banned substances.