By Phillip Whitten
BEIJING, Sept. 6. THE Chinese Swimming Federation cut four swimmers from its 2000 Olympic squad today. In all, some 27 Chinese athletes–most of whom tested positive for banned, performance-enhancing substances–were cut from the team, as Beijing apparently has decided not to risk any further doping embarrassments as it bids it host the 2008 Olympic Games.
The biggest name on the list of four swimmers was Shan Ying, a bronze medalist at the 1998 World Championships. Shan, 22, has bests of 24.71 seconds in the 50 free–making her the fourth fastest woman in history–and 54.40–which ranks her sixth all-time. However, those times were performed in 1997 and 1994, respectively, and Shan has not even approached them this year.
Xu Yanwei, China's fastest female sprinter this year with times of 25.64 for the 50 (20th in the current FINA rankings) and 55.46 for the 100 meters (17th), will also not be making the flight to Sydney.
Fifteen year-old Zhang Yan, China's leading hope for a distance freestyle medal, was the third swimmer cut from the Olympic team. Zhang's 4:11.38 for the 400 meter freestyle, ranked 12th fastest in the world this year.
Veteran breaststroker, Zheng Qiliang, was the only male to be cut. Zheng's 1:01.89 for 100 meters ranked seventh globally last year, though he only has managed a 1:02.60 this year.