British Olympic chief defends Chinese swimmer Ye

July 31st, 2012 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Ryan Lochte London, July 31 (IANS) Colin Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association (BOA), has spoken out in defence of 16-year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen against doping suspicions.

Ye’s swim in the 400 metres medley saw her set a new world record and also knock five seconds off her personal best, giving her the gold medal. She followed that swim up with an Olympic record as she qualified in first place for Tuesday night’s 200 metres medley final, in which she is favourite to win her second gold medal of the Games, reports Xinhua.

However, her performances have raised eyebrows, with commentators questioning how she could produce such a dramatically improved performance and also swim the last 50 meters in the 400 meters medley faster than men’s 400 meter champion Ryan Lochte.

BBC presenter Claire Balding wondered on air: “How many questions will there be about how someone can swim so much faster than she has ever swum before?” which many took as a suggestion something out of the ordinary had taken place.

The BBC later issued a statement denying that the presenter had implied Ye has doped, but the issue made headlines in most of the British and much of the foreign press.

John Leonard, a senior US coach, who is the Executive Director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, called the performance disturbing and hinted doping had happened.

“History in our sport will tell you that every time we see something, and I will put quotation marks around this, unbelievable, history shows us that it turns out later on there was doping involved,” he told the UK’s Guardian newspaper.

After her 200 metres heats and semi-final, Ye denied doping, saying her displays were down to hard work, while Chinese officials have highlighted that their athletes have taken over 100 anti-doping tests since arriving in London with not one positive.

Moynihan also defended Ye’s innocence Tuesday morning: “She’s been through WADA’s programme and she’s clean. That’s the end of the story. Ye Shiwen deserves recognition for her talent.”

Meanwhile, former British Olympic swimmer Adrian Moorhouse, himself a gold medallist, commented that the accusations were a case of jealousy.

“The Chinese might have just found this really talented kid, who can work really hard, has the perfect shape and can cope with all the pressure thrown at her,” Moorhouse said on BBC.

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