Doping violations have increased in China ahead of this year’s National Games of the People’s Republic of China, with eight athletes testing positive in the second quarter of the year, the country’s anti-doping authorities said yesterday.
Twelve positive cases have been registered this year, already matching the number of violations last year, the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency said.
“The number of positive cases has largely increased compared with that of last year, which sent us a warning,” anti-doping head He Zhenwen told Xinhua news agency.
The 11th version of the inter-provincial event drew 15,133 athletes from 46 teams competing in 362 events in 33 sports in Jinan, Shandong Province, in 2009.
The quadrennial event, first held in 1959 in Beijing when China was isolated from most of the rest of the sporting world, remains the main way the government appraises the work of provincial sports authorities.
Funding for the provinces is largely based on their success at the Games, which has encouraged cheating through doping and falsifying the age of athletes.
“There always will be someone who risks doping for unfair advantage when the return is lucrative,” He said. “History taught us that the National Games could well be the reason for cheating.”
China’s women’s 100m champion Wang Jing was banned for life after she tested positive for the performance enhancers metabolites epitestosterone and testosterone after winning the 100m race at the 2009 Games in Jinan, Shandong Povince.
In 2005, Sun Yingjie, a former World Championship bronze medalist, tested positive after finishing second in the 10,000m race a day after winning the Beijing Marathon.
In the 2001 edition, 11 athletes failed dope tests, while three field athletes and a swimmer pulled out after “abnormal” results.
The 12th edition of the tournament will be held from Aug. 31 to Sept. 12 in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province, one of the country’s sporting powerhouses.