China hits back at allegations Ye Shiwen took performance enhancing drugs as World Anti-Doping Agency finds her clean

 

China angrily hit back at allegations that its 16-year-old swimming prodigy Ye Shiwen could only have carried out her recent record-breaking performances with the help of illegal drugs.

Officials were left fuming after an American swimming coach suggested Shiwen’s astonishing times were “unbelievable”, whilst Chinese fans flocked online to decry what they saw as prejudice against their increasingly dominant athletes.

The furore has left the United States struggling to defuse a potentially disastrous diplomatic row with Beijing that could have wider repercussions outside of sport.

Ye smashed a world record in Saturday's women's 400 metre medley - swimming the final 50 metres of the race faster than the men's champion, American Ryan Lochte.

Chinese officials, fellow swimmers and anti-doping experts – and even the teenager’s father – flocked to her defence today arguing that the teenager has always previously passed anti-doping tests and that it was not unusual for young swimmers to shave seconds off swimming records when they are at their peak.

“Ye Shiwen has been seen as a genius since she was young, and her performance vindicates that,” Xu Qi, the head of the Chinese swimming team, told the Chinese state news agency Xinhua. “If there are suspicions, then please lay them out using facts and data. Don't use your own suspicions to knock down others. This shows lack of respect for athletes and for Chinese swimming.“

Jiang Zhixue, the anti-doping chief of China’s General Administration of Sport, added: “I think it is not proper to single Chinese swimmers out once they produce good results. Some people are just biased. We never questioned [American swimmer] Michael Phelps when he bagged eight gold medals in Beijing.”

Her father Ye Qingsong blamed the “biased” reaction of the international media for the question marks over his daughter’s performance. “A lot of different people had to provide all kinds of help for this result to be possible,” he said. “The western media has always been arrogant, and suspicious of Chinese people.”

Allegations of doping are a sensitive issue at the best of times but the Chinese are particularly touchy about the subject. In the 1990s their swimmers dominated the sport until a series of high profile athletes tested positive for banned substances. Two decades on the Chinese are back on top with what they insist is a “zero-tolerance” approach to doping.

The International Olympic Committee also came out in support of Ye. Under the organisers’ anti-doping rules, all medal winners are automatically tested. Today IOC spokesman Mark Adams hinted strongly that Ye’s test came back negative saying he would only comment if a substance was found. He also expressed disappointment that people had begun questioning Ye’s performances. “We need to get real here,” he said “These are the world's best athletes competing at the highest level and we've seen world records all over the place.”

Lord Moynihan, chair of the British Olympic Association, said the World Anti Doping Agency had cleared Ye. “We know how on top of the game Wada (World Anti-Doping Agency) are and Wada have passed her as clean,” he said, “That's the end of the story. And it is regrettable there is so much speculation out there. I don't like it. I think it is wrong. Let us recognise that there is an extraordinary swimmer out there who deserves the recognition of her talent in these Games.”

On Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, internet users left hundreds of thousands of angry messages with Ye Shiwen trending as the most popular topic for much of the day.

Much of their ire was directed at the UK because the British media had been the first to carry the doping allegation quotes from American swimming coach John Leonard.

“You Brits, don't join the Olympic Games if you can't afford losing,” wrote one Weibo user in Sichuan. Another user added: “The only motive for the western media to attack Ye Shiwen is because she is Chinese.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition