Drugs, China and Russia. Is swimming on a downward drug spiral?

China and Russia Doping Plagues Swimming News – is the Sport on a Downward Drug Spiral?

Swimming news this week has revealed that Chinese swim coach, Zhou Ming, has been training two of China’s best swimmers despite the supposed life ban. Just what is going on?.

In an article published in the Australian newspaper, The Sunday Telegraph, Zhou Ming was found guilty of systematic doping back in 1998. He received a lifetime ban from FINA; however, the news must have never reached China and some individuals in the community believed that the said ban was reduced to 8 years.

Zhou Ming
Zhou MIng whist in the USA.

A Walk Down Memory Lane on Zhou Ming’s Swimming Career

Looking back at Ming’s swimming history, there were allegations regarding his coaching techniques and the controversial death of Qing Wenyi who died in November 2015 at a national swim camp which, coincidentally, Ming was also present at the said camp. Qing Wenyi’s family did not request for autopsy to be done and was later cremated a few days after her death.

The article did not mention where Ming has been training swimmers which was quite disturbing especially now that the Chinese swim team has established a base camp at the Gold Coast, Queensland in Australia.

qing wenyi
Qing Wenyi, left (in glasses), with a team mate in Fuzhou [TV still]

Recently, Australia ABC has also published a story about the doping of Russian swimmers. It has become a bit worrying that swimmers worldwide are falling into a state of dysfunction and drugs are creating chaos for people who continuously do the right thing. The London Times has also reported that Russia has its own state-sponsored doping program. They claimed that Sergei Portugalov, the name behind the alleged massive Russian athletics scandal, was trying to push drugs into the Russian National swim team like a pharmaceutical rep. There was also the allegations circling around two of Russia’s top swimmers. The two swimmers did not receive punishment for testing positive on EPO.

As someone who has great passion for swimming, hearing these types of swimming news stories about the use of drugs in swimming clearly sparks my fire. It’s a disgrace that young kids who have become athletes at such as young age put all of their hard work to reach high competition levels and to go on to Olympic swimming only to cheat.

My apologies but I am not buying the claims of Yuliya Efimova when she said she had taken meldonium (the same drug Maria Sharapova used) for unspecified medical conditions. Pretty suspicious, right? Unspecified medical conditions? Well, if you are innocent, here’s a novel idea: specify these medical conditions and then you won’t have a case to answer.

However, the problem is that Efimova has been tested and found guilty for using a banned substance called DHEA, a steroid that has stripped off five European medals and led to getting banned from competing for two years which was later reduced to 16 months.

It is quite disappointing that such allegations exist. But I am hoping that in due time, WADA will be able to remove these cheating strategies from the swimming community and have a clean and fair competition once again. I still fear that the stories will overshadow Olympic swimming with results still be in question. It will not be the last we’ll hear of it.






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