BEIJING, China, December 20. WHEN the Olympic Games of 2008 were awarded to Beijing, the Chinese athletic community and government made it clear that the host nation yearned for a strong showing. With that declaration, there were concerns from around the world that performance-enhancing drug use would return to a country that had problems in that realm in the past. Well, those concerns may have been legitimate, particularly with the Monday announcement of a provisional positive drug test by 15-year-old Zhou Jie.
On October 21, FINA was alerted by a WADA-accredited laboratory in Barcelona that Zhou had been connected to an adverse analytical finding for the substance, Clenbuterol (Class S 1.2/Other Anabolic Agents). The result was the product of an out-of-competition drug test performed in September. The FINA Executive Board has decided, after consultation with its Doping Control Review Board, to provisionally suspend Zhou from November 24 until a hearing can be heard before the FINA Doping Panel.
Zhou is the latest Chinese swimmer to test positive for a banned substance. Last year, she ranked among the top 25 in the world in the 400-meter freestyle with a time of 4:12.57. That effort was a 10-second drop from the year before. Seven Chinese swimmers have tested positive for a banned substance since 2001 and an alarming 43 have tested positive since 1990.