Top Biden Official Calls for Inquiry Into Chinese Doping Case

The Biden administration’s top drug official called on Monday for an independent investigation into how Chinese and global antidoping authorities decided to clear 23 elite Chinese swimmers who tested positive for a banned drug months before the Summer Olympics in 2021.

The official, Rahul Gupta, who is the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said that he planned to bring up the handling of the positive tests during a two-day meeting of sports ministers in Washington. Top members of the World Anti-Doping Agency are scheduled to attend the event, which starts Thursday.

“The United States stands by its commitment to ensure that every American athlete and those across the globe are provided a level playing field and a fair shot in international athletic competitions,” Dr. Gupta said in response to questions from The New York Times. “There must be rigorous, independent investigations to look into any incident of potential wrongdoing.”

Dr. Gupta is a member of the WADA executive committee, but he and his staff had not been briefed about the case involving the swimmers until Friday, according to a statement from his office. The next day, an investigation in The Times revealed the swimmers’ positive tests for a banned heart drug, trimetazidine, or TMZ, and the response to them by national and global antidoping officials.

The 23 Chinese swimmers were never suspended nor publicly identified before the Summer Olympics; at those Tokyo Games, they accounted for five medals, including three golds. The discovery that they had tested positive for TMZ but still competed prompted angry reactions from Olympians who raced against some of them, and charges of a coverup from others in the antidoping movement.

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