Thursday, 2 August 2012

Chinese supremacy at Olympics

IT is disappointing to read about the American coach labelling China’s swimming sensation16-year-old Ye Shiwen for slicing off five seconds from her personal best and taking more than a second off the world record to win gold in the 400m individual medley in a time of 4mins 28.43 seconds.

The American coach was “suspicious” of the Chinese using performance enhancing drugs to have competitive edge over her opponents including comments coming from Head of the World Swimming Coaches Association that her achievement was “impossible”.

Last night Yi Shiwen once again proved her mettle by winning her second gold medal.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Ye Shiwen spectacular performance was due to her strong work ethics and she had not tested positive for any drugs so far.

Sour grapes Americans, please respect Asian capability.

C. SATHASIVAM SITHERAVELLU Seremban
  
Top China paper hits back over Ye doping doubts

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's top official newspaper has waded into the furore over comments suggesting Olympics swimming sensation Ye Shiwen might have benefited from doping, saying that the unfounded suspicions showed ignorance and "deep-seated prejudice".

Chinese sports officials, Ye's father and the 16-year old swimmer herself have all vehemently denied the doping concerns, which some observers raised after her world record performance in the 400 metres medley on Saturday.

China's Ye Shiwen poses with her gold medal after winning the women's 200m individual medley final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 31, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray

Now the People's Daily, the main mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, has added its weight to the angry rebuttals and suggested that suspicions over Ye's two gold medals in London reflected broader Western ill-will towards the country's achievements and rising strength.

"This is not the first time that certain Western media have voice unfounded suspicions about the outstanding performance of Chinese athletes. Deep-seated prejudice has led them into blind ignorance," a commentary in the paper said on Thursday.

"Nay saying by a handful of people will not ruin China's image and nor will it hold back China's advancement," it added.

"Maligning the reputation of Chinese athletes and upsetting the competitive performance of China's young sporting stars at the London Olympics is really a miscalculation," the paper said.

The official Xinhua news agency, citing a statement from the Chinese Swimming Association, said their swimmers underwent more than 2,500 drug tests last year which produced no positive results.

"China's recent breakthroughs in swimming are the results of scientific training and hard work," the report cited the statement as saying.

Some of Ye's supporters have accused her detractors of racism, pointing out that far from appearing out of nowhere, Ye, a world champion over the 200 medley last year, had been an emerging star for years.

"Ye Shiwen has been consistently training in swimming since she was six or seven-years-old," said the Chinese paper. "Her outstanding performance was not out of the blue."

Questions over Ye's display, and whether it was possible without performance-enhancing drugs, surfaced after her stunning 400m individual medley display, when she stormed past American world champion Elizabeth Beisel in the final freestyle segment.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by John O'Brien)






Win or lose, China's Olympic athletes draw criticism in London

It's tough being a Chinese Olympian. When you win, people get upset. And if you try to lose, look out.

First an unheralded 16-year-old swimmer saw her two gold medal wins shadowed by cheating allegations.

Then came the disqualification Wednesday of China's top badminton players, among eight kicked out overall, after they tried to set up an easier draw for the medal stages of competition by throwing an early-round match.

Olympics officials said the criticism of the swimmer was unfair - she passed her drug test - and fellow athletes said the badminton format, not the athletes, was to blame because it was ripe for manipulation. Yet the controversy continued, taking some of the shine off of China's blistering medal pace over the first five days of the Games - 30 overall so far, 17 of them gold. The U.S. has won 29, 12 of them gold.

"Other swimmers have won multiple golds, how come they criticize me?" the 16-year-old swimmer, Ye Shiwen, said Tuesday night after claiming her second gold medal, in the 200-meter individual medley. Asked to explain her success at a young age, she said, "It's because of our training. We work really hard."

Still, it's become common for Chinese athletes to be subjected to extra scrutiny, warranted or not. China's past penchant for doping in Olympic swimming, its rigorous government-run training program for athletes and its recent rise to medal supremacy all have fueled suspicions, particularly among rival nations.

It was a top American swimming official, John Leonard, who first described Ye's world-record time in the 400-meter individual medley on Saturday as "disturbing," setting off a flurry of tongue-wagging from current and former swimmers and coaches. After Ye passed a drug test Tuesday, Olympic officials rushed to her defense.

"My instinct is always to give the benefit of the doubt to the competitor until proven otherwise," Sebastian Coe, the chair of the London Games and a two-time gold medalist in the 1,500 meter run, said Wednesday. "So my instinct for that is to celebrate what was an extraordinary performance."

Even the badminton scandal - which has brought worldwide disrepute to a sport that Americans usually play in between hot dogs at summer cookouts - isn't one of cheating per se, but rather of trying to win by losing.

The Badminton World Federation, the sport's governing body, changed its format for the Olympics this year, adding a round-robin portion before the typical single-elimination round. The purpose was to allow more matches for lower-ranked players, but it created a unique dilemma: If competitors already had qualified for the elimination round, they could manipulate the results of this last round-robin to set up a more favorable matchup in the knockout round.

The disqualified Chinese players - world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang - were trying to avoid being placed in the same bracket as another Chinese team in the knockout round. So when they took the court Tuesday for their final group matches, Wang and Yu didn't exactly play up to their champion status. They repeatedly served into the net and missed routine smashes. The only possible conclusion: They were working hard to lose.

Their South Korean opponents, who'd also qualified for the elimination round, saw what was going on and adopted the same tactics, prompting boos from a crowd expecting a spirited match and warnings from the umpire. The Chinese pair eventually succeeded in losing.

An hour later, another South Korean team and a team from Indonesia took the court. Neither team wanted to end up in the same side of the elimination draw as gold-medal favorites Wang and Yu, so they, too, proceeded to throw their match.

"Depressing," Coe said. "Who wants to sit through something like that?"

Wang and Yu, the Indonesian duo and the two South Korean teams were all expelled for "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive to or detrimental to the sport," the badminton federation said.

But other players were more understanding of what the teams were trying to do.

"I don't believe the athletes are at fault because they want to win, so you have to consider the organizers," Lin Dan, a Chinese singles player, said after his match Wednesday.

"They should have thought ahead and seen that this kind of situation might happen and thought what they could have done to avoid this situation and stop it happening again in the future," he said.

Xu Chen, a mixed doubles player, said, "If you set this kind of rule, as long as it's a legal requirement, it is really up to us how we play the game."

"I much preferred the situation in Beijing 2008 when we had the straight knockout."

Other reports of match-throwing dogged badminton. An Indian coach accused a Japanese women's pair of throwing a match Tuesday against a team from Taiwan to avoid facing the No. 2 Chinese team in the knockout stage. The Taiwanese team's advance, however, eliminated an Indian duo that had beaten the Taiwanese in the group stage.

Badminton officials haven't indicated if they'll take any action against the Japanese team.

"The system is first at fault," said the Indian coach, Pullella Gobi Chand. "The players will do whatever they can to win a medal and if losing means a better draw, they will do it."

Jan Jorgensen, a badminton player from Denmark, expressed the same sentiment with a hip-hop catch phrase that's probably never been applied to badminton before. "Don't hate the player," he said, "hate the game."

By SHASHANK BENGALI McClatchy Newspapers

 

Related:

Medal Count as at August 1, 2012
Leaders

Total
1
China1794
30
2
United States1289
29
3
Korea624
12
4
France535
13
5
DPR Korea4-1
5
6
Germany382
13
7
Italy342
9
8
Kazakhstan3--
3
9
Japan2411
17
10
Russia245
11
11
United Kingdom234
9
12
Hungary211
4
13
Ukraine2-4
6
14
South Africa2--
2
15
Australia162
9
16
Romania132
6
17
Brazil111
3
17
Netherlands111
3
19
Georgia1--
1
19
Lithuania1--
1
19
Slovenia1--
1
19
Venezuela1--
1
23
Colombia-21
3
23
Cuba-21
3
25
Mexico-2-
2
26
Canada-15
6
27
Indonesia-11
2
27
Norway-11
2
29
Czech Republic-1-
1
29
Denmark-1-
1
29
Egypt-1-
1
29
Spain-1-
1
29
Poland-1-
1
29
Sweden-1-
1
29
Thailand-1-
1
29
Chinese Taipei-1-
1
37
New Zealand--2
2
37
Slovakia--2
2
39
Azerbaijan--1
1
39
Belgium--1
1
39
Belarus--1
1
39
Greece--1
1
39
India--1
1
39
Moldova--1
1
39
Mongolia--1
1
39
Qatar--1
1
39
Singapore--1
1
39
Serbia--1
1
39
Uzbekistan--1
1
Malaysia---
-
Malaysia


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