CHINA / Center

Sports school caught in doping raid
Updated: 2006-08-23 20:14

BEIJING -- China's State General Administration of Sport (CSGAS) has started an investigation into a "collective doping" scandal involving an athletics school in Northeast China, the CSGAS announced here on Wednesday.

In a doping raid spearheaded by officials from the Chinese Olympic Committee's anti-doping commission and the CSGAS on August 8, exactly two years away from the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the appalling evidences of collective doping were found.

When the officials made an announced visit to an unnamed Northeastern Chinese training camp used by the Liaoning Anshan Athletics School, school staff were caught red-handed as they injected teenage students with banned substances.

The anti-doping officials confiscated a large amount of illegal drugs including erythropoietin (EPO) and testosterone and hypodermic needles in the room of school headmaster Shao Huibin.

The school was preparing for the 10th Liaoning Provincial Junior Games.

A CSGAS source said the raid was launched on a tip-off but declined to give further information.

The Anshan school was the second Chinese sports school charged of "collective doping".

Liaoning Shenyang Sports School, based in Liaoning's provincial capital Shenyang and about 80 kilometers away from Liaoning's third largest city Anshan, was charged of collective doping in August 2002.

Staff at the Anshan school face criminal charges under China's anti-doping code, which was enacted in February 2004.

"It is the second doping scandal involving a sports school and it is even more serious because it happened after the promulgation of China's anti-doping code and it happened as the 2008 Olympics is closing in," said a CSGAS statement faxed to Xinhua News Agency Wednesday evening.

"The management of the school not only defied the law but also put the youth's health at great danger," said the statement.

Liaoning is a sports powerhouse in China, churning out bunches of Olympic and world champions, and its status in Chinese athletics is unmatchable.

Guru athletics coach Ma Junren, who led Chinese women runners to a sweep of world records and world titles in the 1990s, is from Liaoning and he had retired from the position as Liaoning's deputy sports chief. Ma's then immediate superior Cui Dalin is now a deputy sports chief of the country.

Liaoning is also home to hero-turned-villain Sun Yingjie, the world half marathon champion who had been tipped as a medal hopeful for the 2008 Olympic women's runs before she went down as a doping cheat in 2005.