Reuters - Mon, 10 May 11:41:00 2010
The coach of China's Olympic judo champion Tong Wen has blamed a surfeit of pork chops for her positive test for a banned substance.
Tong, the women's 78kg gold medallist at the 2008 Olympics, has been banned for two years and stripped of her 2009 world title after testing postive for Clenbuterol.
Coach Wu Weifeng, however, believes China's well-documented food safety problems were responsible for the first positive test by a Chinese Olympic champion.
"She trained in Europe for a while and was sick of European food so we gave her a lot of pork chops when she returned home to prepare for the 2009 World Championships in Rotterdam," she told Beijing Youth Daily.
Wu said Clenbuterol, which is used to treat breathing disorders, rising blood pressure and for oxygen transportation, was a cheap chemical often illegally used as an additive to feed pigs in China.
China's leading backstroke swimmer Ouyang Kunpeng, who was banned for life ahead of the Beijing Olympics after a positive test for Clenbuterol, also claimed he had eaten too much roast pork while at a barbecue with friends before the test.
The 27-year-old Tong is China's most successful judoka, who had won three world titles in the 78kg class between 2005-2009, and one in the open category in 2003.
The head of Chinese weightlifting, wrestling and judo, Ma Wenguang, told local media that Tong would also be punished by the Chinese sporting authorities.
"Whoever you are and whatever reason you have, as soon as the violation is confirmed, we will seriously punish," he was quoted as saying on the Chinese Judo Association website.
"Our country has very strict punishment on doping cases. We have law. Taking drugs is illegal."
Wu still hopes Tong will defend her title at the 2012 London Olympics after her ban ends in September 2011.
"She has the ability. We have confidence in her," she added.