China’s Li Zhesi Hit With Two-Year Doping Ban

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, January 29. FINA announced today that Li Zhesi, a member of China's world championship-winning medley relay in 2009, is out of the sport for two years for a doping violation that occurred last March.

Though Chinese media had first reported on the positive drug test last June, FINA had not imposed a sanction on Li until now. Li was, however, removed from the Chinese Olympic team as a result of the positive test.

Li tested positive for EPO, a substance that increases red blood cells. EPO has been in the news lately as one of the substances Lance Armstrong used over the years to win cycling titles.

Li swam the freestyle leg for China in the medley relay at the 2009 world championships, helping set a world record that lasted until the United States broke it in London last year. She was to be a key leg for China's freestyle relay at the London Games, and her absence may have been a factor in China's fourth-place finish in the event.

Today's news means Li will not be able to compete for China at this summer's world championships, but thanks to the repeal of the IOC's Rule 45, Li is eligible for a spot on the 2016 Olympic team.

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