Home Australia Chinese swimming doping case sparks spat between global and US anti-doping agencies

Chinese swimming doping case sparks spat between global and US anti-doping agencies

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A person displays a large Chinese flag in a stadium; In the background you can see many photographers.

Revelations of positive doping tests carried out on nearly two dozen Chinese swimmers who went unpunished have sparked an avalanche of accusations and legal threats between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the head of the US anti-doping organization.

WADA said on Saturday it would turn to legal counsel to address a statement released by Travis Tygart, executive director of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who said WADA and China’s anti-doping authorities swept the positive results “under of the rug by not fairly and equitably following the global rules that apply to everyone else in the world.

Swimming Australia issued a brief statement about the allegations, saying it welcomed “the rigorous testing our athletes face to ensure a level playing field”.

“As an organisation, we will always stand for fairness and integrity, and believe that all athletes deserve the right to achieve success through their own hard work, effort and dedication,” Swimming Australia chief executive Rob Woodhouse said.

“We are currently making our own inquiries with World Aquatics, until we know more we will not be in a position to comment further.”

Chinese authorities said samples from 23 swimmers who tested positive for a banned substance had been contaminated.(AP Photo: Charlie Riedel, file)

Tygart’s accusation was made after WADA acknowledged that it had cleared 23 Chinese swimmers who had tested positive for a banned heart drug to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after agreeing with Chinese authorities that the samples had been contaminated.

WADA defended its process and said it acted in good faith and in accordance with due process when it decided not to challenge China’s explanation of the positives.

He then said that Tygart’s comments were politically motivated and that he was “stunned by the outrageous, completely false and defamatory comments” he made.

WADA noted that USADA has several times over the years accepted “similar findings of contamination involving several American athletes” and that Mr. Tygart “should realize that it is not just American athletes who may be victims.” of situations without fault”. pollution.”

Tygart returned with another statement, pointing out the difference between USADA’s handling of contamination cases and this one.

The Chinese case involves a drug called trimetazidine (TMZ), which recently led to the suspension of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

TMZ is a well-known prescription medication for people with heart disease. It is known to help athletes improve endurance and decrease recovery times. Its use carries the strictest sanctions under anti-doping rules.

Tygart said previous USADA contamination cases have not involved TMZ.

“And, most importantly, in every case of contamination we have tested, we provisionally suspended the athlete, disqualified the results, found a violation and issued an announcement as required by the rules,” he said.

The cases of Chinese swimmers were not publicly revealed until New York Times reports and Daily Telegraph It came out on Saturday.

Explaining its handling of the case, WADA admitted there were difficulties conducting investigations in China due to COVID-19-related lockdown restrictions that were in place there in early 2021 when the positive tests were discovered.

He said he consulted with attorneys who told him he was not justified in appealing the case.

The disagreement is the latest in years of clashes between WADA and Tygart, who has long felt that WADA was not tough enough on Russia after its government-sponsored doping scheme at the Sochi Olympics was exposed. in 2014.

There is a possibility that the case could end up in a US court under a US law enacted in 2020 that was widely criticized by WADA. Federal prosecutors can bring charges in doping cases that show a conspiracy to smear an international event involving American athletes.

“All those with dirty hands in burying positive evidence and suppressing the voices of brave whistleblowers must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Tygart said.

The AMA responded to Tygart, saying it was considering legal action.

“It should be noted that following Mr. Tygart’s false allegations, WADA has no choice but to refer this matter to its legal counsel for further action,” the WADA press release concluded, with the paragraph written in bold and in black.


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