China Asian Games champion banned after positive test

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BEIJING, Oct 11 (Reuters) China's Asian Games triathlon gold medallist Wang Hongni has been banned from competition for two years after failing an out-of-competition doping test, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) said.

Wang, winner of the triathlon at last year's Games in Doha, tested positive on August 24 to ''exogenous metabolites of testosterone'', a substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List, the ITU said on its Web site (www.triathlon.org).

Wang waived her right to a hearing and accepted a two-year suspension after a B sample taken on Sept. 27 confirmed the result, the ITU said.

Wang's ban would last until October 5, 2009, the ITU said, ruling her out of next year's Beijing Olympics on home soil.

The Chinese Olympic Committee Anti-Doping Commission was likely to ''urge'' an investigation and punishment of other parties involved in the case, Thursday's Beijing News said, citing an unnamed official at the Chinese Anti-Doping Center.

''Although the ITU has already punished Wang Hongni, her coach and team will be dealt with according to China's more stringent anti-doping regulations,'' the paper quoted the official as saying.

However, China's triathlon chief Wang Jianguo insisted the positive test will have no impact on the Chinese team.

''This is an individual case,'' Wang was quoted by the China Daily as saying.

''Her suspension won't hamper our preparations for the Beijing Olympics.'' Chinese Olympic officials have been at great pains to assure the world its doping problems are a thing of the past after several scandals uncovered systematic doping in the 1990s.

With much prestige invested in next year's Olympics, China has repeatedly pledged it would rather win no gold medals than have one positive test.

REUTERS DKS RAI0825

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