Chinese ban three from National Games


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

Beijing will host the 2008 Summer Olympics.