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Chinese relay athletes to receive Olympic medals

By SUN XIAOCHEN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-03-22 07:31
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The Chinese team poses for photos after men's 4x100m relay final at Tokyo Olympics, Aug 6, 2021. From left: Wu Zhiqiang, Su Bingtian, Xie Zhenye, Tang Xingqiang. [Photo/Xinhua]

The international governing body of athletics has recognized Team China as the bronze medalist in the men's 4x100-meter relay at last year's Tokyo Olympics, following a retrospective penalty on Team Great Britain for a doping violation.

The Chinese team of Su Bingtian, Xie Zhenye, Tang Xingqiang and Wu Zhiqiang finished fourth after clocking a national record of 37.79 seconds in the 4x100m relay final at the Tokyo Games on Aug 6, narrowly missing out on the podium initially dominated by the gold-winning Italian team, runner-up Great Britain and third-place winner Canada.

However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport issued a ruling in February that Team Great Britain had been stripped of its silver medal after a hearing found that the team's first-leg runner, Chijindu Ujah, had violated anti-doping regulations. This resulted in the upgrade of Canada and China to silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Although the official medal reallocation remains subject to final approval by the International Olympic Committee's Executive Board, the website of World Athletics, the track and field governing body, has added "Olympic bronze medalist "under the tag of "honors summary "on each of the four Chinese sprinters' profile pages, triggering widespread celebration on Chinese social media on Monday.

It was the first Olympic medal won by China in a relay event and the second overall in a sprint event after retired track star Liu Xiang's gold medal finish in the men's 110m hurdles at the 2004 Games in Athens.

The bronze, which will be awarded to the Chinese athletes at a proper occasion once the IOC completes the approval, will increase the Chinese delegation's medal tally from the Tokyo Games to 89-38 gold medals, 32 silver and 19 bronze.

"I think we will just celebrate it by training harder," said Wu, China's anchor-leg runner, who is preparing with teammates at a camp in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, for the world championships in July and Asian Games in September.

"We were quite sure that we would get the upgrade once we learned about the doping violation of the British runner. Yet it will take a while before we get the medals handed out to our athletes," said Huang Danwei, head coach of China's relay teams at the Tokyo Games.

Ujah tested positive for the prohibited substances ostarine and S-23, anabolic agents that help build muscles, after the race on Aug 6, triggering a provisional suspension and a later hearing of the case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

According to the court of arbitration's statement, Ujah's sample returned positive for the prohibited substances and his B-sample analysis confirmed the results. Therefore, his results in both the 100m and 4x100m relay were disqualified, resulting in the cancellation of Team Great Britain's result in the relay in accordance with the anti-doping rules of the IOC.

Ujah said in a statement following the ruling in February that he accepted the decision with "sadness" but claimed he had "unknowingly consumed a contaminated supplement".He also apologized to his teammates.

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