Written by 20:22 World

WADA Clears Itself in Chinese Doping Case

The World Anti-Doping Agency on Tuesday cleared itself of wrongdoing over its decision not to discipline elite Chinese swimmers who tested positive for a banned drug in the lead-up to the previous Summer Olympics, even as new details emerged that raised questions about how it had handled the decision.

A special prosecutor appointed by the antidoping agency, known as WADA, to review its decision said he had found that the agency made an “indisputably reasonable” decision not to impose penalties on the swimmers, and concluded that the agency had not shown preferential treatment to China.

But in an annex to his report, the prosecutor noted that two top scientists at the agency said they had difficulty believing China’s claim that the swimmers had been unwittingly contaminated.

WADA’s decision to clear itself of wrongdoing is unlikely to satisfy antidoping experts and other critics — particularly those in the United States — who have contended that the investigator, Eric Cottier, was handpicked by agency officials and that the doping regulator, along with the Chinese, covered up the positive tests in 2021.

The announcement came five days after it was revealed that the Justice Department and F.B.I. had opened a criminal investigation into how the positive tests were handled. And it emerged a little more than two months after The New York Times revealed that 23 top Chinese swimmers all tested positive for the same banned heart medication months before the 2021 Summer Games in Tokyo.

China’s antidoping agency blamed a mass contamination incident for the positives, in which the swimmers, it said, unwittingly ingested the banned drug trimetazidine, known as TMZ, after eating food served at a hotel where they were staying for a meet.

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Last modified: 10 July 2024
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