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China: Aussie Woe Not Our Fault

Sep 25, 2012  - Craig Lord

A Chinese official has denied the link between China's Olympic swimming success and Australia's downfall in the sport - the report on which had Xinhua, the national agency, adding "despite the fact that Australian coaches were giving Australians black eyes all over London".

"China's success didn't lead to the downfall of Australian swimmers," said Xu Qi, who headed the Chinese national swimming team which swept five gold, two silver and three bronze medals at London 2012, the tally the biggest in the pool for China since the doping-soaked 1990s. Australia's matching tally of 10 included just one relay gold and six silvers.

A day after reports that Denis Cotterell is facing a federation ban on coaching Sun Yang and others, Xu said China will enhance its cooperation in swimming with Australia because the former swimming powerhouse has lots of world-class coaches.

Xinhua ran Chinese reports that quoted Sun Yang and suggested a split between the swimmer and Cotterell were false, while Swimming Australia denied that it had banned Cotterell from coaching Chinese swimmers. Legally, it would have a hard time doing do even if it had chosen such a course of action.

Cotterell charges have included Zhang Lin, Jiao Liuyang, Zhao Jing and Liu Zige, all Olympic or world champions and part of a winning team that is greater than the success rate that the Australian coach, mentor to Grant Hackett, has had in the hottest international waters with swimmers from his own country.

"We will continue to invite foreign coaches to China and at the same time send Chinese swimmers overseas to learn and train," he added.

Xu said that China will compete in an inaugural annual Australia-Brazil-China swimming meet, or ABC meet, in Melbourne in January 2013. Both China and Brazil have suffered two of the worst doping records in the sport's history in recent years.

Meanwhile, in Huangshan, Anhui Province, Olympic champion Ye Shiwen avoided her main events and raced the 50m free. The 16-year-old Olympic 200m and 400m medley champion who courted controversy in London with a closing speed that was well off-the-chart when compared to the average among her world-class peers and the progress seen in medley events over the past 20 years.

As she watched on, the 200m medley was won by Zhang Wenqing, from Shandong, in 2:13.24, about 6sec away from Ye at her best in London.

 Ye, whose next big international will be the world short-course championships in Istanbul in December, placed fourth in the 50m freestyle in 25.74 seconds as Shanghai swimmers Yin Fan and Xu Wen finished 1-2 in 25.26 and 25.45 respectively. "Next month I'll head for the plateau training base in Yunnan province," said Ye. "Hopefully I can return to form in time for the short-course swimming championships at the end of the year."

Meanwhile, in the women's 50m backstroke, Liu Xiang of Guangdong touched the wall first in 28.19; Beijing's Liu Zhaochen topped the men's 100m freestyle in 50.09; Beijing teammate Wang Shuai clocked 27.91 in the 50m breaststroke; and Shanghai's Lu Ying swam 58.78 to win the 100m butterfly. 

The session ended with women's 4x100m freestyle crown going to Beijing in 3:43.63.