WADA ‘did not favour’ China in swimmers’ doping case, report says

WADA ‘did not favour’ China in swimmers’ doping case, report says
WADA ‘did not favour’ China in swimmers’ doping case, report says

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), criticised for its handling of the case of 23 Chinese swimmers who tested positive in 2021 but were not sanctioned, “did not favour” the Asian country, according to an interim report by an independent prosecutor, published on Tuesday.

The report, which comes just over two weeks before the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, was commissioned after German television ARD revealed in April that 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for trimetazidine ahead of the Tokyo 2021 Games.

The conclusion of the report is that WADA’s decision not to appeal the decision of the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was “reasonable.”

“Nothing in the dossier, which is complete, suggests that WADA showed favouritism or complacency, that it in any way favoured the 23 swimmers who tested positive for trimetazidine between 1 and 3 January 2021, when it proceeded to examine CHINADA’s decision to close the proceedings against them,” the report reads.

The provisional text, which all parties wanted before the Paris Games, exonerates WADA, which has been the subject of criticism over this issue in recent weeks.

The United States has opened a federal investigation into the matter.

The New York Times also shared the revelations about the case.

– Food contamination –

WADA insists it did nothing wrong by accepting Chinese authorities’ argument that “food contamination” occurred at a hotel.

In April, retired Swiss prosecutor Eric Cottier was tasked with examining WADA’s handling of the case and determining whether it had “taken sides” in favour of China. This came amidst a spat of criticism between WADA President Witold Banka and the US anti-doping boss Travis Tygart.

While China has pledged to “actively cooperate” with the report, it recently said it would “never” disclose details of its investigation into the 23 swimmers, as the United States had hoped.

Several of those swimmers won medals at the Tokyo Games in 2021 and eleven of them are selected to participate in the Paris Games.

– Instrumentalization –

“The report shows that we have followed the rules,” said Polish economist Witold Banka in an interview with AFP on Tuesday, saying that the case is being used “as a tool in a geopolitical war.”

“If this case had occurred in any other country than China, it would not have attracted so much attention,” he added, noting that he considers it “dangerous for the future” of the anti-doping fight for a country to “investigate other countries,” referring to the investigation launched in the United States.

In an exclusive interview with AFP, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said in April that he had “complete confidence in the World Anti-Doping Agency.”

The IOC partly finances this organisation, which oversees the global fight against doping.


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