Rumors hit news outlets last year regarding Chinese 100m freestyle world champion Ning Zetao having been kicked off the national team, but, at the time, the 23-year-old denied the reports. However, a memo was leaked today from China’s State General Administration of Sports Management Center, which plainly spells out 3 specific violations that have indeed led to Ning being sent back to his Chinese Navy swimming team. Charged with refusing to participate in a relay event, failing to obey national team competition rules and working as an unauthorized spokesman, the leaked memo appearing on Sports SINA clearly states that Zetao has been dismissed from the Chinese national team.
Last year, Ning entered a sponsorship agreement with Chinese dairy brand Yili pre-Rio, a brand which is in direct competition with the national swimming team’s official milk sponsor, China Mengniu Dairy. The young star also signed a partnership deal with Adidas, one which was supposedly unauthorized by Chinese Swimming and also one in direct conflict with the team’s official apparel sponsor, 361 Degrees.
Although Ning has been removed from the Chinese National Swimming team, the act doesn’t carry the same destructive impact as it might in other countries, whereby, we should still expect Ning to compete at this year’s World Championships.