Chinese ban three from National Games

Updated: September 30, 2005, 2:13 AM ET
Associated Press

BEIJING -- Three Chinese track and field athletes have been banned from taking part in the prestigious National Games after testing positive for steroids in a random drug test.

Long jumper Wang Lina and relay specialist Niu Nana tested positive for the banned substance 19-norandrosterone in tests administered on Aug. 27, China's State Sports General Administration said Friday.

Sun Hongfeng, a 400-meter runner tested positive for the same substance on Sept. 12, the council said.

The three athletes, their coaches and local sports officials may face additional bans and other punishments, the administration said in a statement, adding: "There will be zero tolerance toward any doping offenses."

Administration official Wang Chen said no decisions had been made on further punishments and it wasn't clear whether the three would appeal the administration's decision.

A substance produced naturally in small quantities, 19-norandrosterone appears in larger amounts following the use of the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone.

The bans are the second batch announced this month. Zeng Liqing, a female cyclist from southeastern China's Fujian province, was banned for two years on Sept. 14 after testing positive for the blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) in an out-of-competition check on March 25.

Xu Xianyu was also banned for two years after her horse Chariot showed positive results for the anti-inflammatory drug Diclofenac on June 12. The horse was suspended from racing for one year.

China has conducted one of the world's biggest anti-doping programs in recent years in an effort to restore its reputation after being battered by a string of drug scandals in the 1990s. A law enacted last year imposes criminal penalties for serious offenses.

Beijing will host the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press