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Chinese Swimmer To Return Home

January 11, 1998

PERTH, Australia (AP) _ A Chinese swimmer and her coach were set to return home Monday for trying to sneak a banned drug into Australia for the world championships.

Swimming authorities, awaiting further drug reports, have delayed disciplinary action against swimmer Yuan Yuan and coach Zhou Zhemen.

Competition in the pool starts Monday with one of Zhou’s pupils, Ying Shan, favored to win the opening 100-meter freestyle event.

``It would have been nice if we could have revealed the decision before the start of the swimming,″ said Gunnar Werner, secretary of FINA, swimming’s governing body.

``We have to suffer a little from the bureaucracy. We have not yet received confirmation with the official report from the customs regarding the analysis. It’s the weekend.″

Australian customs spokesman Chris Schofield told The Associated Press that FINA was told twice on Saturday that the matter had been passed on to the Australian Sports Commission.

Schofield said the laboratory that made the tests had been authorized to send the report to the ASC. He said it will take a few day to complete the report, which will be sent to FINA immediately.

Zhou and Zhewen were recalled from the championships after 13 vials of banned human growth hormone were found packed in a thermos seized from Yuan’s baggage.

Customs said the substance ``is, or contains, growth hormone.″ Werner said it was legally important to establish the exact level of growth hormones seized.

In the wake of the latest accusations against the Chinese, Swedish swim coach Hans Chrunak said his country plans to boycott the World Cup swim meet in Beijing next month.

Chrunak has criticized the Chinese many times in the past, once saying ``their female stars look like tractors but swim like Ferraris.″ He wants China banned from the world championships.

Meanwhile, Russia and the United States continued their perfect records in the open-water races, winning the 25-kilometer races Sunday in the choppy Indian Ocean.

In the first round of water polo, the U.S. men routed Canada 10-1 and the U.S. women tied Brazil 7-7.

Alexei Akatiev, who won last Wednesday’s 5-kilometer race, took the gold on Sunday while American Tobie Smith won the women’s 25-kilometer race.

It gave the United States its third gold in the category after Erica Rose won the 5-kilometer race and the Americans won the team event.

Akatiev, a 1,500-meter finalist at the Atlanta Olympics, is the European champion at 5K and 25K. He also won a team silver medal with Russia in the 5K race in Perth.

David Meca of Spain, fifth in the 5K, was second Sunday to capture second place. Gabriel Chaillou of Argentina was third.

Smith was followed across the finish line in the women’s race by Germany’s Peggy Buchse, who was third in the 5K, and Edith van Dijk of the Netherlands, who took the 5K silver.

Italy won the team gold medal while Australia took the silver and the United States the bronze.

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