WADA says it astonished by 'completely false, defamatory' remarks by USADA chief in case of Chinese swimmers

2024-04-22 08:52:35Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Saturday that it is astonished by the "outrageous, completely false and defamatory remarks" made by the head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who made wrongful accusations against WADA over the case of 23 swimmers from China.

Chinese observers condemned the rumormongers for using old tricks in an attempt to slander Chinese athletes, and called for an apology. Observers pointed out that as the Paris 2024 Olympics approaches, the case of 23 swimmers from China, which has already been thoroughly investigated, is once again being hyped and portrayed in a misleading light by some foreign media and personnel, which clearly exposes the bad faith actions of rumormongers.

According to the WADA statement on Saturday, WADA was notified in June 2021 of the decision by the China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) to accept that the swimmers had tested positive in early 2021 for TMZ after inadvertently being exposed to the substance through contamination.

WADA said that after requesting the full case file from CHINADA, scientists and external legal counsel thoroughly put the contamination theory presented by CHINADA to the test over a span of several weeks.

WADA ultimately concluded that it was not in a position to disprove the possibility that contamination was the source of TMZ and it was compatible with the analytical data in the file. WADA also concluded that, given the specific circumstances of the asserted contamination, the athletes would be held to have no fault or negligence. As such, and based on the advice of external counsel, WADA considered that an appeal was not warranted.

WADA mentioned that USADA had contacted WADA in early 2023 based on a tip it had received about an alleged cover-up involving these cases but unfortunately was unable to provide any evidence whatsoever.

WADA Director, Intelligence and Investigations, Gunter Younger, said: "The data held by us clearly showed that there had been no attempt to hide the positive tests as they had been reported in the usual way by the Chinese authorities."

However, in a statement released Saturday, United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart said it's "disappointing to see WADA stoop to threats and scare tactics when confronted with a blatant violation of the rules governing anti-doping."

In response, WADA later published another statement, saying Tygart's allegations are politically motivated and delivered with the intention of undermining WADA's work to protect clean sport around the world. WADA notes that the damaging comments have been delivered without any supporting evidence whatsoever.

WADA has also accepted USADA's similar conclusions of contamination involving a number of US athletes. Tygart should realize that it is not only American athletes who can fall victim to situations of no-fault contamination.

It should be noted that following Tygart's false allegations, WADA has no choice but to refer this matter to its legal counsel for further action, WADA's statement said.

CHINADA also said Saturday it would reserve the right to pursue legal action toward media publishing the improper information.

A Beijing-based sports commentator, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Sunday that slandering Chinese athletes is in line with the consistent practice of foreign media and certain organizations in an attempt to suppress China sports, especially as the 2024 Olympics is so close.

The commentator urged USADA and foreign media outlets to apologize, although an apology cannot so easily dispel the negative impact by the rumors.

"Why do rumors by some foreign organizations always target the Chinese athletes? This is because we are getting stronger and stronger!" read a typical online comment on Sina Weibo.

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