By Phillip Whitten
PHOENIX, May 22. THERE were two pieces of news on the doping front today: one from China and one from Brazil.
In Beijing, the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) announced significant progress on the doping front as the 2008 Olympics loom ever larger on the horizon. Chinese officials announced yesterday that they had conducted 358 blood tests on swimmers in 2002 to detect the presence of EPO. There were no positives.
"Not a single swimmer turned out positive," said Shi Kangcheng, a COC official, maintaining that this was the result of improved education on the importance of maintaining drug-free sport.
In Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Olympic Committewe (COB) conditionally suspended Laura Azevedo, 21, after the swimmer tested positive for banned steroids during testing at the Trofeu Brasil meet earlier in May. FINA will take up her case next week and decide what action to take. Azevedo qualified for both the World Championships and the Pan American Games at the Trofeu Brasil meet.
Coaracy Nunes, head of the Brazilian drug agency advised Azevedo against submitting an appeal to FINA, it was reported in the newspaper, O Edtado.
"I guess the result will be the same," said Nunes, who added he believes the swimmer is clean and he intends to give her all the support she needs to prove her innocence.