China is now facing its first doping scandal at the Rio Olympics after a Chinese swimmer allegedly failed the mandatory blood test taken before the Games.
Swimming prodigy Chen Xinyi, who won several gold medals at the 2014 Asian Games, reportedly tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, a banned drug, Reuters reported. The substance is a known to be a diuretic banned for its ability to hide the use of other performance-enhancing drugs.
The Chinese Swimming Association (CSA), which has confirmed the allegation, was reportedly informed about the positive result two days ago, and has appealed it at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
State news agency Xinhua cited the organization as saying it was “paying great attention” to the incident and has advised Chen to cooperate with the investigation
“If the assertion is true, the CSA will earnestly implement anti-doping regulations and safeguard legal interests according to law,” an unnamed CSA official was quoted as saying.
“The Chinese Swimming Association resolutely opposes the use of banned substances, will actively cooperate with the investigation by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and respect its final ruling,” the official said.
Earlier, Australia’s 400-meter freestyle champion Mack Horton called out rival and silver medalist Sun Yang a “drug cheat” prior to their race. Sun, who was suspended for three months in 2014, said he was taking angina medication that wasn’t previously on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances.