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Suspension puts focus back on China swimmers

Teenage Chinese swimmer Zhou Jie has been temporarily suspended from racing after testing positive for the outlawed drug clenbuterol, state media said this week.

Zhou, 15, was provisionally banned on November 25 after a sample taken in a September out-of-competition check in Shanghai came up positive, the international swimming association (FINA) said on its website.

The provisional suspension would hold pending a hearing before FINA's doping panel, it said.

"We will obey FINA's decision and we will continue our fight against doping," Shang Xiutang, vice president of the Chinese Swimming Association, was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

China has repeatedly vowed to crack down on doping among its swimmers since they were at the centre of a series of scandals in the 1990s that undermined their massive improvement in the pool.

"Zhou is the fifth Chinese swimmer to be suspended for a doping offence since 2001, when two swimmers received six-month bans for clenbuterol," Xinhua said.

Shang said that while the Chinese Swimming Association would accept FINA's final ruling in Zhou's case, he suspected she may have inadvertently ingested the drug by snacking on some barbecued meat at an unlicensed roadside foodstall the weekend before she was tested.

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