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China Swimmer Meets Doping Panel

January 10, 1998

PERTH, Australia (AP) _ While a Chinese swimmer and coach appeared before a doping panel to determine their punishments for trying to import a banned growth hormone, American Troy Dumais won a silver medal in diving Saturday.

Dumais, competing in his first world championship, finished behind China’s Yu Zhuocheng in the 1-meter springboard diving competition at the World Swimming Championships. Holger Schlepps of Germany took the bronze.

``I was a little nervous _ it was my first final and I didn’t know what to expect,″ Dumais said. ``But after the first dive, I was able to get into the groove and settle down.″

His coach, Jeff Shaffer, gave Dumais a bear hug after his final dive when they realized a medal was secure.

``Troy is a very unique athlete, he’s one of the toughest I ever coached ...″ Shaffer said.

Saturday’s results left Russia atop the medal table with four _ two gold, one silver and a bronze _ while China and the United States had two golds and a silver each.

In men’s water polo, the United States beat Slovakia 8-5 and European champions Hungary defeated defending world champion Italy 11-7.

In women’s play, Canada downed the United States 3-2, Hungary beat Kazakstan 13-4 and Russia defeated Brazil 9-3.

Meanwhile, Chinese swimmer Yuan Yuan and coach Zhou Zewen appeared before a doping panel convened by FINA, amateur swimming’s governing board, to investigate the hormone trafficking.

Tests confirmed that Yuan was caught trying to import a banned growth hormone. U.S. coach Jon Urbanchek said Saturday that Yuan was holding enough drugs to keep her country’s swim team supplied for the week-long championships.

Urbanchek said he was told the hormone was six times more potent than the testosterone-based anabolic steroids.

Yuan and Zhou, who have been ordered to be sent home by the China Swimming Association, will remain in Australia until the panel concludes its hearing.

FINA was expected to make an announcement about the hearings Sunday.

``The Chinese Association, as well as the two individuals concerned, were very cooperative,″ doping panel chairman Harm Beyer said. ``They have answered every question and they have not refused us anything.″

If the panel finds Yuan guilty of trafficking, the 21-year-old could be banned from competition for four or more years. She also could be fined $30,000 by Australian customs.

Although customs officers found the banned hormone in Yuan’s luggage, Zhou claimed he packed it in her bag and was delivering it to a friend.

The discovery further raised suspicions that China was engaged in systematic doping and embarrassed Chinese authorities, who have been trying to allay those concerns.

Officials with the swimming association and Chinese Olympic Commission vowed Friday to punish Yuan and Zhou if internal investigations deemed it warranted.

Officials and teammates immediately distanced themselves from the two and appealed to FINA not to condemn the team for the pair’s actions.

``As this is their individual behavior, they will be held responsible for all the consequences thus arising,″ the swimming team said in a statement.

Suspicions that China was encouraging doping or even engaged in a systematic program grew at the 1994 World Championships in Rome, where Chinese women won 12 of 16 events. Two months later, seven Chinese swimmers tested positive for steroid use at the Asian Games in Hiroshima.

American Josh Davis, winner of three gold medals at the Atlanta Olympics, said this latest discovery was further proof that FINA needs to introduce blood testing.

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