China’s Zhou Jie Connected to Performance-Enhancing Drug

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.