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Top swimmer positive – doping scandal without consequences

Top swimmer positive – doping scandal without consequences
Despite positive doping tests, WADA does not want to react.

In a statement released on Saturday, WADA called the reports “misleading and potentially defamatory” and said it would take legal action if necessary. However, she confirmed the facts of the 23 positive samples. But after a “review process lasting several weeks,” the swimmers could not be blamed for any fault or negligence. According to research by the ARD doping editorial team and the “New York Times”, the swimmers are said to have tested positive at a national competition in China at the beginning of 2021. The banned heart drug trimetazidine is said to have been found at the competition in Shijiazhuang. At the Olympics in Tokyo in the summer of 2021, the 30-member Chinese team won six medals, including three gold.

The Chinese anti-doping agency Chinada informed them in June 2021 that the swimmers had tested positive for the banned heart drug trimetazidine (TMZ) after they were accidentally exposed to the substance through contamination. However, due to Corona restrictions at the time, WADA was not able to carry out the investigations on site in China. After testing remotely, the anti-doping organization found itself unable to refute the China theory. “We even obtained new information on the pharmacokinetics and metabolism of TMZ from the manufacturer and tested several hypotheses,” explained WADA Science and Medicine Director Olivier Rabin.

Doping strategies with low doses of TMZ were also tried out to assess their plausibility. “Ultimately, we concluded that there was no concrete basis to challenge the alleged contamination,” Rabin said in the WADA statement. TMZ helps to improve the oxygen supply to the heart muscle and supports heart function – thus increasing endurance. The so-called metabolism modulator has been on WADA’s banned list since 2014.

According to research by the ARD doping editorial team and the “New York Times”, the swimmers tested positive at a national competition in China at the beginning of 2021. The “Daily Telegraph” from Australia also reported. The media reports state that food was cooked for all the affected athletes in a hotel kitchen in Shijiazhuang. The report submitted by China shows that more than two months later, investigators inspected the kitchen and found traces of trimetazidine in the extractor hood, on spice containers and in the drain.

Travis Tygart, head of the US Anti-Doping Agency, accused WADA and Chinese authorities of sweeping the positive tests under the rug. At the Olympics in Tokyo in July/August 2021, the 30-member Chinese team won six medals, including three gold. After examining the ARD documentation, WADA reassured that there was no reason to attack the Chinese authorities’ findings. They had determined that the positive doping tests were due to contamination in a hotel kitchen. Therefore, the swimmers went unpunished.

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