Swimming: Four Chinese banned for drug abuse

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Four Chinese swimmers have been banned for two years after failing drug tests in January 1996 at their national championships, Fina, the world governing body of swimming, announced yesterday.

None of the four - three women and one man - are world-ranked swimmers, a director of Fina, Cornel Marculescu, said. The three women - Yu Ran, Pu Shi and Chen Jialin - tested positive for an anabolic steroid, while Lu Qiang had an illegally high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone.

Fina said the violations were reported by the Chinese federation, allowing the country to escape a two-year ban. The four swimmers also escaped a mandatory four-year ban as that rule went into effect on 30 January 1996, just after the violations took place. The Chinese federation also banned three unnamed coaches from domestic and international meetings for a year.

Seven Chinese swimmers were banned for failing drug tests before the Asian Games in Hiroshima in 1994 and China was excluded from the 1995 Pan Pacific swimming championships in Atlanta because of suspicions about drug-taking.