By John Schauble
BEIJING, April 12. China plans to run extensive drug tests on its entire Olympic team before it departs for Sydney later this year,one of China's most senior sporting officials said yesterday.
Shi Kangcheng, director-general of sports science and physical education at China's State Sport General Administration, said urine and blood testing of athletes was already being conducted, with the aim of having a "clean team" for the 2000 Games.
China claims it is struggling to overcome a reputation for doping after an unprecedented number of its athletes–particularly swimmers–tested positive for illegal, performance-enhancing substances and were banned from international competition in recent years. The issue is especially sensitive given Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics.
Shi said the Chinese Government's attitude to drug use was "very definite and consistent". Drug use is "not in the interests of the athlete or the State", he said.