Swimming: Two-year ban for Chinese

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Five Chinese swimmers who tested positive for banned substances at the Asian Games were suspended for two years yesterday by the sport's international federation.

Four male swimmers, including the quadruple Asian champion, Xiang Guoming, and the World Championship women's gold-medalist Zhou Guanbin, were suspended by Fina to back the two-year bans already handed out by the Chinese federation.

The five were among 11 Chinese athletes, including seven swimmers, who tested positive for dehydrotestosterone at the October games in Japan.

The other two swimmers, the world champions Lu Bin and Yang Aihua, have already received two-year bans for failing out-of-competition tests conducted before the games.

Xiang won golds in the 200 metres freestyle, 200 and 400m individual medley, and the 800m relay at the games. Zhou, a member of China's 800m relay team that took gold at the World Championships in Rome in September, won the 400m freestyle gold and took silver in the 800m in Hiroshima.

Also suspended were the Asian Games 50m freestyle gold medalist, Hu Bin, the 400m individual medley bronze-medalist, Fu Yong, and the 200m butterfly silver medalist, Zhang Bin.

All seven swimmers have already been stripped of their medals by the Olympic Council of Asia. Fina also said it has requested that the Chinese federation conduct an investigation to determine if any coaches, trainers or doctors were responsible for the spate of positive tests.

The Chinese federation has already said it will launch its own inquiry.