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Officers of the Tennis Management Center of General Administration of Sport of China denied that Li Na was once forced to take steroid pills as an article in the New York Times stated.
Meanwhile, writer Brook Larmer admitted that his report was based on Li Na's autobiography, which turns out to be a misunderstanding due to translation mistakes.
On Aug 22, the article about Li Na published in the New York Times cause an uproar. In the article, the reasons of Li's early retirement in 2002 were explained as: burnout from excessive training, outrage at her coaches' attempts to squelch her romance with a male teammate named Jiang Shan, and the debilitating period that the head coach insisted she play through, overruling a doctor's recommendations, by taking steroid pills, to which she was allergic.
The Chinese tennis officials denied that Li was forced to take steroid pills, which are prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. The writer of the article later admitted that his report was based on the translation of Li Na's autobiography rather than a direct quotation from her speech.
According to Li's autobiography, before the Asia Games in 2002, long time pressure and depression result in a period of physiological disorder. She had to take some hormone medicines, to which she was allergic; otherwise she could not take part in the games.
Experts stressed that hormone medicines are not equal to steroid pills, which are prohibited drugs in the sports games.