China anti-doping agency says will ‘actively cooperate’ with audit

China’s anti-doping agency said Friday it will cooperate with a compliance audit ordered by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) involving a case where 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for a prescription heart drug.

Tokyo Olympics. File photo: Wikicommons.

“CHINADA will actively cooperate with the coming audit by WADA, and provide assistance where needed,” the China Anti-Doping Agency said in a statement.

WADA said on Thursday it would send a compliance audit team to China to “assess the current state of the country’s anti-doping program” run by CHINADA.

In its statement, CHINADA said it “will work for the rights and interests of clean athletes and the integrity in sport”.

WADA has faced criticism since media reports that the swimmers tested positive for trimetazidine (TMZ) — which can enhance performance — ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 but were not sanctioned after WADA accepted the argument of Chinese authorities that the case was caused by food contamination.

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China’s team at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Photo: Chinese Olympic Committee, via X.

On Thursday, WADA said it had asked for an independent review, calling on Swiss public prosecutor Eric Cottier to look into its handling of the case of the Chinese swimmers.

CHINADA said the world body’s request for an independent review was “a clear demonstration of fairness, openness and transparency of WADA”.

The head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Travis Tygart, has called the situation with the positive tests a “potential cover-up” and USADA on Thursday branded WADA’s announcement of an independent investigation “self-serving.”

CHINADA maintained however that “there have been false accusations and misleading defamatory reports from some organizations and media, including the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)”, which it said chose “to ignore China’s firm attitude in the fight against doping”.

‘Misinformation’ claims

It added that USADA and the media had worked to “manipulate public opinion by spreading misinformation in order to attack WADA and CHINADA, and shake the well-functioning global anti-doping system.”

Beijing meanwhile has called reports about the case “fake news”.

“The relevant reports are fake news and not factual,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Monday.

Wang WenbinWang Wenbin
Wang Wenbin. Photo: Spokesperson office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, via Twitter.

Cottier, the Swiss prosecutor reviewing the case, has been asked to evaluate if there was any bias shown towards China or “any undue interference or other impropriety” in the handling of the case.

The lawyer will also be asked to determine if the decision not to challenge or appeal against the verdict of CHINADA, that the cases involved food contamination, was reasonable.

The team which will travel to China will additionally include “independent auditors from the broader anti-doping community”.

WADA said the visit was part of its regular compliance monitoring program.

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