FINA has announced that China’s Jing Liu has received a warning, issued by the Chinese Swimming Association, for a positive test for Prednisone, an immunosuppresant that is used commonly in medicine to treat a wide range of diseases including asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Prednisone falls under a class of banned-substances known as “glucocorticosteroids” that are not banned during training, only in competition. Liu’s test was during the Chinese National Championships, so it is considered a positive test. The drug is a banned substance during competition because it can enhance feelings of euphoria and limit inflamation (caused by high levels of strain of injury that might come up during competition). Athletes are allowed to use prednisone with a thereapeutic-use exemption, or during training.
Similar to Cesar Cielo’s positive test for the banned diuretic furosemide, prednisone falls under the category of “specified substances” according to the World Anti-Doping Code that are eligible for a warning-only punishment, if an athlete can prove accidental ingestion. With the limited information coming out of the Chinese media, it’s hard to elaborate on what sort of evidence the Chinese Swimming Association might have had for accidental ingestion.
It does not appear as though FINA has appealed this warning yet, as they have already recognized it publicly on their database of offenses, which they did not do prior to the finalization of appeal of the Brazlians’ case. FINA has not yet released a statement, other than to recognize the positive test and subsequent punishment by the Chinese Swimming Association.
Liu was a member of the bronze-medal winning 800 free relay for the Chinese at the Shanghai World Championships two weeks ago. There were no positive tests reported at those world championships. Liu was also a member of the 800 free relay in Rome in 2009, when the Chinese won gold and set a World Record that still stands. If there was a successful appeal, and subsequent suspension, the Chinese would be forced to forfeit their bronze medals from that relay. The medal would go to the French quartet in that case. Any appeal would likely be made on the basis of FINA not suspecting there was enough evidence to indicate accidental contamination.
This latest positive test, and subsequent warning, will likely renew calls for revisions to the anti-doping code, which were heard very strongly after the Cielo case.
Full release from FINA:
On April 3, 2011, a swimmer Jing LIU (CHN) was tested positive to the substance Prednisone (Class S9 Glucocorticosteroids) following a doping control test conducted with the occasion of the National Swimming Championships.
The China Swimming Association imposed a sanction of warning on the athlete.