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Wednesday, January 14, 1998 Published at 12:48 GMT


More Chinese swimmers test positive
image: [ A Chinese swimming coach watches a team training session ]
A Chinese swimming coach watches a team training session

Four more Chinese swimmers have been thrown out of the World Swimming Championships in Perth, Australia, after testing positive for a banned substance.

Fina, the sport's ruling body, said in a statement that three women - Wang Luna, Cai Huijue and Zhang Yi - and the male swimmer, Wang Wei, had tested positive for the diuretic Triamterene.

The four have been barred from the rest of the tournament until the results of a secondary test are known.

Fina also announced that Yuan Yuan, caught trying to smuggle human growth hormones into Australia, is to be banned for four years and her coach Zhou Zewen, who admitted putting the illegal drugs in her case, will be banned for 15 years.

[ image: Yuan Yuan: banned for four years]
Yuan Yuan: banned for four years
Zhou and breaststroke specialist Yuan were expelled from the World Swimming Championships by the Chinese delegation last week and left Australia early this week.

Australia customs had seized 13 vials, subsequently found to contain human growth hormone, from Yuan's baggage.

Shortly before the ban was announced, the Australian government advised Fina to penalise severely Zhou and Yuan.

Sports Minister Andrew Thomson met Fina President Mustapha Larfaoui to emphasis the need to clean up the sport before the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

"The penalties we hope will be severe to give the right message out that performance-enhancing drugs are cheating and can't be tolerated," Thomson said.

He offered Australian assistance in establishing an international task force of scientific and medical experts to investigate doping, as announced by Fina in response to the drugs seizure.

"I was able to explain a few things from the perspective of the Australian government, in particular our need to be seen to be making efforts before the games in Sydney to make sure that elite sport was as clean as possible of performance enhancing drugs," Thomson said.

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