23 Chinese Swimmers Test Positive, Cites Contamination: WADA

April 21, 2024 4:26 pm

[Source: Reuters]

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed reports on Saturday that 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for a banned drug before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but it accepted the country’s findings that this was due to substance contamination.

Multiple media reports said the swimmers tested positive for trimetazidine (TMZ), which is found in heart medication, months before the COVID-delayed Games began in the Japanese capital in July 2021.

CHINADA, China’s anti-doping agency, called the reports “misleading” and said the positive results had been inadvertent.

Article continues after advertisement

CHINADA said the swimmers had tested positive for “extremely low concentration” of TMZ after inadvertently being exposed to the substance through contamination and should not be held responsible for the positive results, according to a statement reported by China’s state news agency Xinhua on Sunday.

The Chinese anti-doping agency said it had investigated the matter “from various respects” and kept WADA and World Aquatics informed. “WADA agreed with our conclusion after thorough review,” CHINADA said.

The Chinese Swimming Association did not respond to an email from Reuters seeking comment.

WADA said it was notified in June 2021 of CHINADA’s decision to accept that the swimmers returned adverse analytical findings, or AAFs, after inadvertently being exposed to the drug through contamination.

The global anti-doping body, which has the authority to appeal the rulings of national doping agencies, said it reviewed the decision and consulted scientific experts and external legal counsel to test the contamination theory presented by CHINADA.

China’s 30-member swimming team won six medals at the Tokyo Games, including three golds.

Without mitigating circumstances, athletes who fail doping tests are usually subject to bans of two to four years for a first offence and life for a second.

World Aquatics, the sport’s global body formerly known as FINA, said it was confident the positive tests were handled “diligently and professionally.”

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) criticized WADA and CHINADA for their handling of the matter.

WADA told Reuters it was considering legal action against USADA and Tygart for accusing it of a cover-up.

WADA said that in the past it had accepted USADA’s similar conclusions of contamination involving a number of U.S. athletes and has no choice but to refer the matter to its legal counsel for further action.