Wada investigating claims of systematic doping in China during 1980s and 90s
The move comes after a former team doctor said more than 10,000 mainland athletes were involved in the programme
The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) is looking into allegations made by a German broadcaster that Chinese athletes benefited from systematic doping in the 1980s and 90s.
“The allegations were brought forward by former Chinese physician, Xue Yinxian, who is said to have looked after several national teams in China during the decades in question,” Wada said on Monday.
Xue, who recently arrived in Germany and is seeking political asylum with her son, told broadcaster ARD that more than 10,000 athletes were affected, some as young as 11, and that anyone who was against doping was considered “a danger to the country and anyone who endangered the country is now in prison”.
The 79-year-old Xue said she lost her job with the national gymnastics team after refusing to treat an athlete with doping substances before the 1988 Seoul Olympics. She said she had not felt safe in her home city of Beijing since 2012, when she first made her allegations of doping. She first started working with China’s national teams in the 1970s.
“In the 1980s and 90s, Chinese athletes on the national teams made extensive use of doping substances,” she told ARD. “Medals were showered in doping. Gold, silver and bronze. All international medals should be withdrawn.”
Wada said it would examine “whether such a system may have prevailed beyond these decades”.
The first step, Wada said, was for its “independent intelligence and investigations team to initiate an investigative process in order to collect and analyse available information in coordination with external partners”.
Xue, who continued to work at lower levels after being dismissed from the national team in 1988, said she was only approached afterwards when athletes developed problems because of the substances they were given.
“One trainer came to me and said, ‘Doctor Xue, the boys’ breasts keep getting bigger’,” Xue said. “These boys were about 13 to 14 years old.”