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"How Do The Chinese Explain It?"


Cecil M. Colwin

"They have had a huge improvement in the last 13 months, and how do they explain such dramatic increases in nearly every event in swimming?" asked Forbes Carlile, who is a member of the World Swim Coaches anti-doping commission.

"As well as two world records in the pool, including astounding results by medley swimmers Yan Chen and Yanyan Wu, who slashed nearly two seconds off the 400 and 200 individual medleys respectively, Chinese women have set 10 times which were faster than those at the Atlanta Olympics. At the 1996 Games, the Chinese won only one swimming medal - to Jingyi Le - and blamed their poor results on inadequate training methods."

At Shanghai, records have been smashed in weightlifting and track and field. Three world records have been set by male lifters and the females have bettered world standards in all eight weight divisions.

On the running track as well

On the track, Xuemei Li clocked a phenomenal 10.79s for the 100, which bettered that of US world champion Marion Jones who clocked 10.83 at the World Championships in Athens. Li also competed in Athens but clocked 11.2 and was eliminated after the second round.

In the heats of the 1500m, there were 12 female athletes who clocked under four minutes. In comparison, the previous fastest time in the world this year was 3:58, set by Briton Kelly Holmes.

Carlile said FINA, the governing body for swimming, needed to impose regular weekly and unannounced drug tests on the Chinese athletes, to reassure the rest of the world that their performances were not aided in artificial ways.

"What's needed is for FINA to station a drug tester permanently in China, to test swimmers with no notice and with great frequency," Carlile said. "It will be a battleground in Perth if there are positive tests. We can't stand by and watch this happen."

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