Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Geo Sport Reviews China's Ye ignores drug row to clinch gold double

Geo Sport Reviews China's Ye ignores drug row to clinch gold double

LONDON: Chinese teenage wonder Ye Shiwen ignored the doping controversy surrounding her to claim her second gold medal of the Olympics with victory in the 200m medley on Tuesday.

Sixteen-year-old Ye, whose explosive win in the 400m medley in world record time last Saturday drew thinly veiled allegations of drug use, sealed the medley double with victory in 2m 07.57sec, a new Olympic record.

World champion Ye pulled away in the closing stages to beat home Australian Alicia Coutts and American Caitlin Leverenz.

She lit up the Olympics on Saturday after slicing five seconds off her personal best and taking more than a second off the world record to win gold in the 400m individual medley.

Ye's stunning last 50 metres was faster than men's champion Ryan Lochte, a fact that has been seized upon by sceptics who point to the litany of drug scandals which dogged Chinese swimming through the 1990s.

Olympic swimming greats have lined up in support of besieged Chinese star after John Leonard, executive director of the World Swimming Coaches' Association, raised his suspicions about the authenticity of her swims.

Former swimmers and top officials lined up to voice support for Ye, noting she had never failed a drug test and therefore should be regarded as a "clean" athlete.

Former British swimmer Adrian Moorhouse, a gold medallist in the 100m breaststroke in the 1988 Seoul Games, said given China's vast population of 1.3 billion and the country's state-backed elite sports programmes, it was possible the country's swimming system had simply unearthed a phenomenon.

"There are a lot of people in China. The base of their pyramid is so wide -- if they train thousands and thousands and thousands of kids they might have just found their Michael Phelps," Moorhouse said.

"They might have found this really talented kid who can work really hard, whose got the perfect shape and can cope with all the pressure that's thrown at her," he added.

Phelps coach Bob Bowman became the latest to voice support for Ye, describing attacks on her as "unfair."

"I think it is a natural cynicism that results from the history, the long history, of what has happened with China in this sport," Bowman told the Daily Telegraph.

"Having said that I think it is unfair to immediately just jump on someone who has had an extraordinary swim because it is something that happens.

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