China Accused of Systematic Doping
Jan. 17, 1998
PERTH, Australia (AP) _ Australian swimming great Shane Gould accused the Chinese of systematic doping on the scale of the former East Germany in response to a series of positive drug tests at the World Championships.
Gould, who won three gold medals at the 1972 Olympics before becoming a recluse on a country farm, came back into the public eye at a world championships marred by the banning of six Chinese _ five swimmers and a coach _ for drug offenses.
She also said that swimmers from the United States, Australia, Canada and Sweden had tried to organize a 10-minute, prerace sit-in during the meet to protest against the Chinese.
China's swim officials have claimed that the use of drugs is the action of individuals rather than an organized approach from the regime.
``The soft answer is that until it's proven that it's systematic we can only say it's the individuals that have been caught,'' Gould said.
``The hard answer is that circumstantial evidence points to it being systematic _ that the Chinese have adopted the East German system. I would say it's systematic.''
Gould said retired swimmers had discussed the issue at length and would agitate to keep the pressure on countries returning regular positive tests.
``They are not just sitting here watching, they are stirring the pot very hard,'' Gould said.
Gould said the plans for a sit-in before a race to bring attention to the issue had failed because other countries had not supported the four nations, and some swimmers were too young for political action.
``Many of those athletes are very young, many of them aren't politically aware and most of them are here to swim and want to stay focused,'' Gould said.
``At this stage there isn't a coordinated organization of athletes.
``That may change in the future where there can be athletes' spokespersons and a coordinated voice. Then the athletes would feel like they could do some civil disobedience.''
Gould said some of the countries didn't want to be involved because it would distract their swimmers from the events, and risk disqualification.
Gould had several world records broken by East German swimmers after 1974.
She said the difference between East Germany's ability to avoid positive tests in an era of proven systematic doping and China's exposure was due to better technology and increased out-of-competition testing.
Meanwhile, a member of the Brazilian women's water polo team, Daniela Raddi, tested positive for the illegal substances amphetamine and hydrochlorthazide, the world governing body FINA said.
Brazil finished 10th among 12 teams, but will be stripped of its placing if Raddi's test is confirmed by the B sample. The test was taken Wednesday and the competition ended Friday.