WADA Says That Chinese Positive Doping Tests Were Reported Via the Normal Channels

The World Anti-Doping Association has responded to reporting by the New York Times, ARD, Herald Sun, and others, saying that all normal processes and procedures were followed in the case of 23 Chinese athletes who tested positive for a banned substance prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The athletes were not suspended after an investigation concluded that the positive tests were the result of contamination.

New York Times reporting said that “Experts in antidoping, drug-testing and compliance interviewed by The Times said the handling of the case of the Chinese swimmers and the lack of disclosure about the positive tests ran counter to long-established precedents meant to ensure transparency, accountability and competitive fairness in elite sports,” but WADA says that “The data held by us clearly showed that there had been no attempt to hide the positive tests as they had been reported in the usual way by the Chinese authorities.”

WADA confirmed the 23 positive tests, but rejected reporting that there was anything unusual about the case or any cover-up.

WADA’s full recounting of the process is below:

“WADA was notified in June 2021 of the decision by the China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) to accept that the swimmers had tested positive in early 2021 for TMZ after inadvertently being exposed to the substance through contamination. As it always does, WADA carefully reviewed the decision and, in this instance, requested the full case file. As part of its review, WADA collected additional, unpublished scientific information on TMZ and consulted with independent scientific experts to test the contamination theory and also whether low doses of TMZ could have benefited the athletes during a swimming competition event. During this review process, which spanned several weeks, scientists and external legal counsel thoroughly put the contamination theory presented by CHINADA to the test. It was not possible for WADA scientists or investigators to conduct their enquiries on the ground in China given the extreme restrictions in place due to a COVID-related lockdown. WADA ultimately concluded that it was not in a position to disprove the possibility that contamination was the source of TMZ and it was compatible with the analytical data in the file. WADA also concluded that, given the specific circumstances of the asserted contamination, the athletes would be held to have no fault or negligence. As such, and based on the advice of external counsel, WADA considered that an appeal was not warranted.”

WADA Senior Director, Science and Medicine, Prof. Olivier Rabin, said: “The WADA Science Department reviewed this case thoroughly in June and July 2021. Indeed, we even sought new pharmacokinetic and metabolism information on TMZ from the manufacturer and tested several hypotheses, including doping strategies with low TMZ doses, in assessing the plausibility of the contamination scenario that was presented to WADA. Ultimately, we concluded that there was no concrete basis to challenge the asserted contamination. Indeed, the contamination scenario was further supported by the combination of the consistently low concentrations of TMZ as well as no doping pattern with several athletes presenting multiple samples collected over the course of several days which fluctuated between negative and positive (and vice versa). In all transparency, we communicated the conclusions of our scientific review to internal and external investigators, including the International Testing Agency.”

In 2022, the International Testing Agency raised issues with WADA regarding a possible misreporting of the TMZ samples. This was independently reviewed by WADA Intelligence and Investigations Department, which concluded that proper procedures had been followed and that there was no evidence of wrongdoing. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) then contacted WADA by email in April 2023 about the TMZ cases. It advised WADA of a tip from an unspecified source that the positive TMZ cases had been hidden. This information was clearly erroneous in that the positive TMZ cases had been reported and decided by CHINADA, as well as thoroughly reviewed by both WADA and World Aquatics, nearly two years prior. USADA had also contacted WADA in 2020 (before the positive TMZ cases even arose) with respect to allegations (again from an unspecified source) of doping cover-ups within Chinese swimming. These allegations were (again) entirely unsubstantiated and WADA advised that the threshold to open an investigation was not met. However, WADA did offer to reassess the situation if USADA provided any evidence at all, which it did not. WADA I&I also offered to interview the USADA source but this offer was not taken up.

WADA Director, Intelligence and Investigations, Gunter Younger, said: “At every stage, WADA I&I followed all due process and diligently investigated every lead and line of enquiry in this matter. The information provided to us by USADA and others was reviewed on each occasion in line with our normal procedure, and assessed according to the criteria stipulated within our Confidential Source Policy. The data held by us clearly showed that there had been no attempt to hide the positive tests as they had been reported in the usual way by the Chinese authorities. Therefore, based on the available information and a lack of any credible evidence, the threshold for WADA I&I to open an investigation was not met.”

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NotHimAgain
1 month ago

This alleged scandal is going to be the swimming news equivalent of the biblical cruse of oil, a gift that keeps on giving before, during, and after the Paris Olympics.

Thomas Selig
1 month ago

One of the questions I really would like an answer to is: how often does it happen that athletes test positive, are able to prove “no-fault contamination” (or similar) so as to not get banned, and we simply don’t hear about it?

Braden provided a few of the known cases below, where athletes were just given a warning. But are there cases where athletes aren’t even given a warning, and we simply never hear about them? If so, how many? Here I’m not sure a warning would make sense. If we accept the contaminated food theory (big “If”, but anyway), what would the warning be? Don’t attend national training camps at hotels where the kitchen might have been contaminated? Seems… Read more »

Becky D
1 month ago

WADA has received information from one or more informants, but since that intel hasn’t aligned with the story provided by CHADA, they decided to ignore.

Did I read that right? That can’t be right.

Thomas Selig
Reply to  Becky D
1 month ago

The statement says “WADA did offer to reassess the situation if USADA provided any evidence at all, which it did not” and other similar points. Essentially WADA is claiming that they received tip-offs about the affair, but no real additional information or intel. Given that they already knew about, and had investigated, the affair itself, they saw no need to re-open the case.

If you take WADA’s statements at face value, they sort of make sense. Of course, that’s a very big “If”…

Becky D
Reply to  Thomas Selig
1 month ago

In the charitable interpretation i can think of: If WADA had released information about the positive (and forgiven) tests, someone wouldnt feel the need to report a tip about positive tests. Instead, WADA discounts the sincerity of the tip.

Wow
1 month ago

Following the misleading information that has been published this week, including on social media, WADA reserves its right to take legal action as appropriate.”
Swimswam is promoting the misleading information here.

Sub13
1 month ago

I hope this fighting leads to WADA releasing all those TUE records. I want to watch the world burn hahaha

Sacre Bleu!
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Caeleb Dressel dislikes this message

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Ooh I was just about to make a comment about TUEs – this NYT article that was linked in their big story about this mentioned Sun Yang could have gotten a TUE for TMZ.

Which…is that true??? Because man, I bet a lot of elite athlete 20 somethings are on a drug for elderly folks with heart disease.

Joel
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Yes I know a specialist who said there is no way that any elite athlete (age 15-45)would legitimately need TMZ

chickenlamp
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

I mean, I’m sure an elite athlete could find an unethical doc to write a script TMZ, but there is absolutely no legit indication for an elite athlete to be on it. TMZ only indication is for angina, which is chest pain due to ischemic heart disease (which itself is caused by atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries). Young elite athletes do not have hemodynamically significant atherosclerosis.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  chickenlamp
1 month ago

Right! Which is why seeing someone write in The Paper of Record that an athlete could conceivably get a TUE for it stand out so much.

I get why they’d try, and how unscrupulous that would be to even attempt. But it would have to be…approved by someone theoretically not just rubber stamping it, y’know?

But I sure as hell see how naive that sounds in retrospect, lol.

Greg
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

You can still look up the fancy bear TUE documents on the wayback machine. The number of athletes on asthma inhalers was ridiculous! I think the only legit TUE was Kathleen Baker’s coz she has a legit medical condition.

Last edited 1 month ago by Greg
Steve Nolan
Reply to  Greg
1 month ago

Ya I get the inhaler thing, but that’s not this level.

Miself
1 month ago

First: if there’s nothing wrong and it was all just a big accident why would u have to cover it up until it accidentally got leaked three years later
Second: These are elite professional athletes. Elite professional athletes obsess and track and record everything they put in their bodies. An elite professional athlete doesn’t go to the store and but the first creative they see on the shelf they take and buy things they trust because they don’t want any chance of testing positive for something and ruining their careers. If an elite professional athlete tests positive for a banned substance the appropriate response is to give them a suspension or ban them completely. 23 of 30 athletes competing… Read more »

Horninco
1 month ago

Such a mess

Should they be allowed to compete even if it wasn’t their own doing? If they had levels high enough to trigger a positive test then it isn’t “fair” no matter why they had it in their system

But then what stops sabotage by other countries? Why doesn’t Germany bribe a “cook” in the Australian camp to taint the food to trigger dozens of positive tests

Total nightmare

Carlo
Reply to  Horninco
1 month ago

You don’t need high levels to trigger a positive test. Ingesting contaminated water, foot and supplements will be detected by doping tests unless you use a masking agent.

This id why the UFC has munimum thresholds for some substances. The Olympics however does not have a minimum threshold

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://theathletic.com/1325861/2019/10/26/in-a-contaminated-world-can-common-sense-prevail-with-the-ufc-anti-doping-policy/&ved=2ahUKEwjP-__U4NGFAxWmGTQIHSnyAGMQFnoECBwQAQ&usg=AOvVaw1wX6S41V_wFOXB-MjzzuFI

Last edited 1 month ago by Carlo
Daniel
1 month ago

“It was obvious that there was an anti-doping rule violation and it should have been handled that way by the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency,” said sports lawyer Thomas Summerer.
For forensic toxicologist and pharmacist Fritz Sörgel, interviewed by the ARD, it is “extremely unlikely” that the events happened as they appear in the Chinese investigation report.
Trimetazidine is a medication available by prescription. The document does not explain how he ended up in the hotel kitchen.
Those comments are from specialists and know what they are talking about…
 
 

Carlo
Reply to  Daniel
1 month ago

They don’t know what they are talking about. Research has shown that Trimetazidine can be found in water, Animal feed in some parts of the world and food. It is not just found as a prescription.

Read the full Article.

https://thecatlinperspective.wordpress.com/2022/02/12/trimetazidine-russian-doping-affair-in-beijing-has-olympic-movement-doing-a-twizzle/

Last edited 1 month ago by Carlo
Daniel
Reply to  Carlo
1 month ago

Ok maybe, but how come they did not reveal these allegations 3 years ago ?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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