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Cheating Chinese could ‘wreck’ Paris Olympics – US anti-doping chief

Illegal performance-enhancing drug use by China’s top swimmers is being covered up, Travis Tygart claims

The credibility of the Paris Olympics could be in jeopardy due to performance-enhancing drug use by Chinese athletes and the pro-China bias of anti-doping regulators, the head of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Travis Tygart, has claimed.

Tygart’s warning came on the heels of an investigation by the New York Times and German broadcaster ARD made public last month claiming that 23 Chinese swimmers had tested positive for banned drugs shortly prior to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. However, according to the investigation, the athletes were cleared by the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA), which said that they had failed the tests due to a contaminated hotel kitchen. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accepted the explanation and allowed the athletes to compete, the media outlets claim.

In an interview with the news outlet Politico published on Monday, Tygart claimed that WADA is biased towards Chinese athletes and let China off the hook intentionally and “swept [the case] under the carpet.”

“Because of the cover-up that happened by China, and WADA allowing it, now that it’s come to light it’s going to be a train wreck waiting to happen going into Paris,” he stated.

The official went on to accuse the entire International Olympic Committee (IOC) of favoring China due to its position as an “incredibly important country to the Olympic Movement.”

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“The IOC has cozied up to China in a really big way. And that means WADA is thinking twice about the ramifications of enforcing the rules fairly. And it’s chosen [in] this case not to do so,” he claimed.

Neither CHINADA nor the IOC has commented on Tygart’s accusations. A WADA spokesperson told Politico in a statement that the claims were “utter nonsense” and that the allegations of a pro-China cover-up by the agency “have lacked any evidence from the beginning.”

“Only a few individuals, with their own agenda, continue to cling to those defamatory claims,” he said.

The WADA rebuffed the claims made by the NYT and ARD, calling their investigation “misleading and potentially defamatory.” It has also said that the US doping regulator “repeatedly” approached the WADA over the years with accusations of doping cover-ups within the Chinese swimming team, but the agency found the allegations “unsubstantiated” as they were based on unspecified sources.

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Last month, the WADA announced that it had invited an independent prosecutor to conduct a review of its handling of the 2021 case following requests by several stakeholders.

May 07, 2024 at 07:37PM

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