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14 Chinese athletes fail doping tests in 2004
Updated: 2004-10-11 16:03

A total of 14 Chinese athletes had tested positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs by September this year, officials said in Beijing on Monday.

Four of the exposed doping offenders were weightlifters, five were from bodybuilding, two apiece from wrestling and track and field, and one from shooting, said Shi Kangcheng, a Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) official who oversees the nation's anti-doping program.

None of them was elite athletes, though, weightlifter Gao Yanzhi and shooter Wang Xiapeng were on the national teams of their respective sport, according to Shi.

"They have all received due punishments," said Shi.

Ding Haifeng, Sun Yan and Ma Wenhua, all from the weightlifting team of Ningxia, northwest China, were banned for two years and fined 4,000 yuan (US$483) for taking steroids. Their coach Wang Chengji was banned for life and fined 10,000 yuan (US$1,200).

Dang Zhiyong, along with four other bodybuilders, failed dope tests at a national bodybuilding championship.

"Though bodybuilding is a non-Olympic sport, we cannot put up with any drug cheat in the sport," said Shi.

A Chinese swimmer and her coach were caught carrying banned substances, while another four failed doping tests during the swimming world championships in Perth, Australia in 1998.

Ever since, China has stepped up its anti-doping drive in an effort to change the tainted image.

In February 2004, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao signed a decree making China's own Anti-doping Regulation public after the country signed on WADA's anti-doping code.

China grabbed 32 golds, 17 silvers and 14 bronzes at the Athens Olympics this summer, recording its best ever finish since the country ended an Olympic gold drought in 1984. A total of 152 Chinese athletes went through dope tests in Athens and no positive results turned out.

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