At Least Some Chinese Swimmers Reportedly Weren’t Notified of Positive Tests In 2021

New evidence of the Chinese doping scandal that came to light in April indicates that at least three of the swimmers who tested positive were not informed, according to a report from European outlet Sportschau.

After the recent release of the documentary entitled “Doping Top Secret: China Files”, the ARD Doping Editorial Team reportedly received information from a source that at least some of the swimmers were not made aware of the positive tests that were taken in early 2021.

It would have been the responsibility of the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA), the body responsible for the test results, to have informed the athletes of the positive tests. Not doing so is a violation of anti-doping rules—as was the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) not reporting the positive tests when it was informed.

Sportschau reports that the ARD has a screenshot from Weibo, the Chinese social media platform, where Zhang Ruixuan wrote: “I am positive. Why didn’t I know about this?”

Zhang, a male breaststroker and one of the 23 swimmers who tested positive, has since deleted the post.

ARD also says at least two other swimmers were not notified of the positive tests.

After the positive tests came through to CHINADA, they were investigated by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, which approved the conclusion that they stemmed from mass food contamination. WADA then accepted the results of the investigation.

It is unknown whether WADA examined whether athletes may not have been informed of positive tests.

“If there is a doping finding as in this case, then the athlete must be informed immediately. In any case, there is a violation of the rules”, Thomas Summerer, President of the German Association for Sports Law, told the ARD Doping Editorial Team: “The swimming association must also be informed and the athlete must be able to comment.”

A source also told ARD that not all of the 23 swimmers were staying at the same hotel when they tested positive, which counters the conclusion reached by CHINADA and WADA that the positive tests were due to mass food contamination from one specific hotel.

Additionally, a source said “at least large parts” of the Chinese national swim team were stationed for long periods of time in Beijing in the weeks before the positive tests, training together at the National Sports Complex. The CHINADA report says that the swimmers had all been in their home provinces in the weeks leading up the competition where they tested positive.

The ARD Doping Editorial Team says it has screenshots indicating that “at least parts of the national team were literally barracked in the capital’s sports complex for a long time.”

“The athletes were not allowed to leave the grounds at times due to the Covid pandemic. These facts clearly contradict the allegations in the CHINADA report.”

WADA’s handling of the case was put under fire on Tuesday during a U.S. Congressional Hearing in Washington led by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart, with Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt both testifying.

WADA President Witold Banka issued his response on Wednesday, reiterating that the case is under review while also coming after USADA and its politicizing of anti-doping in America.

The independent review of the case’s handling by prosecutor Eric Cottier is expected to be published later this week.

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This Guy
21 days ago

I just find it incredible that all over the world there are performance enhancing drugs just tainting people’s food.

Unfortunately I appear to eating at the wrong places.

Reply to  This Guy
21 days ago

Orrrrrr you’re not getting regularly tested for PEDs?

Without specifically applying it to this case, this is a pretty well-established phenomenon.

21 days ago

Witold Bańka must have gone to the same “Take no responsibility / blame others” school as Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Reply to  LucyLovesWater
20 days ago

Get off TikTok. Putin and Netanyahu shouldn’t be in the same sentence.

Just Keep Swimming
21 days ago

What I don’t understand is why the positives get reported in the first place. Surely if China has enough power to cover up positives that WADA knows about, wouldn’t they have enough power to just cover them up at CHINADA and never let WADA know they exist?

Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
21 days ago

ARD has explained that data is input by the lab into ADAM system, a system that is shared by WADA and all country’s local agencies. The lab and CHINADA are separate organizations. China lab has been suspended in 2020 for improper operation. They can’t affort to be suspended again, especially before the 2022 winter olympic in Beijing. The consequences of being caught hiding positive samples are too serious, they can be shut down. While there are no consequences being caught making up kitchen story, other than being criticized, as long as you don’t admit to lying.

Last edited 21 days ago by Zen
21 days ago

Suspendee 23!!

21 days ago

Dirty Jack and the Chinese 23 are a stain on this Olympics.

Reply to  Zippo
21 days ago

Jack served two years and missed major competitions including the Olympics. It was also concluded that hers was contamination btw. Also the positive test was announced just a few weeks after she herself found out. Whereas in cases like the Chinese athletes, Dwyer and Brinegar, we found out one or two or even three years later.

Reply to  Joel
21 days ago

Zero tolerance. Brinegar out. Hardy out. Yang out. Dirty Jack out. Chinese 23 out. None of this served their time or tainted supplement excuses. As a lab analysis expert, it is not tainted supplements.

Reply to  Zippo
21 days ago

Me when my whole entire career can be ruined by contamination, getting covid, etc etc.

Surely there has to be a better way to do this?? These are people’s livelihoods ffs

21 days ago

Not notifying athletes and the excuse being blown apart by the fact that some athletes contaminated were at a different location during the “alibi” is pretty damning. Let alone ignoring the fact that they tested the kitchen months later to supposedly establish the excuse.

Also, the fact that WADA’s defense of any complaint against them is always the classic “look over here instead” is never a good sign. If you can’t actually refute allegations, that’s when you do the classic point and distract.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  SwimCoach
21 days ago

The alibi was always worthless. I doubt any of the swimmers were notified. It wasn’t necessary to notify them since the higher ups always understood it would be swept away.

Your second paragraph is perfect. If this topic shows up 100 times WADA’s immediate instinct every time will be pathetic whataboutism.

Long Strokes
21 days ago

What a s*** show

21 days ago

The world is always controversial, one thing happens today, another might happen tomorrow, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a third World war in the future, hopefully never

Reply to  hanqihao
20 days ago

Cryptic dismissal from a Chinese fortune cracker.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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