US swimmers ‘frustrated’ by Chinese doping scandal as Olympic trials begin

Los Angeles (AFP) – American 100m breaststroke world record holder Lilly King has called the latest doping scandal involving Chinese swimmers “disappointing and frustrating” as the sport prepares for its ultimate showcase at the Paris Olympics.

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“It’s extremely frustrating for athletes to always have in the back of their minds that this sport might not be fair,” King said on the eve of the U.S. Olympic Trials, which started Saturday in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“You know, when we’re risking everything, our privacy, basically everything we do to compete on a level playing field, it’s extremely frustrating not to trust others to do the same.”

King said the past few weeks and months had been “very interesting and trying to focus on the meeting but also moving forward a little bit.

“But those thoughts are always in the back of my mind,” she said.

The New York Times reported Friday that three Chinese swimmers under the age of 23 involved in a drug scandal before the Tokyo Olympics had also tested positive for clenbuterol several years earlier.

The Times said the three athletes – including two 2021 Olympic gold medalists and a current world record holder – tested positive for the banned steroid in 2016 and 2017.

Chinese authorities argued that the three athletes accidentally ingested the substance through contaminated meat, and no disciplinary action was taken. WADA defended that decision on Friday after the story was published in the New York Times.