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SBD Global/July 4, 2012/Olympics

Chinese Volleyball Players Blame Defeat On China's Tainted Meat Problem

The Chinese women's national volleyball team is "blaming a string of humiliating defeats on a paralysing mistrust of provincial food," according to Leo Lewis of the LONDON TIMES. Head coach Yu Juemin said that the team had been playing games around the country and while on the road the players "flatly refused to eat meat at any local restaurant, no matter how high the apparent quality." The "gold-medal hopefuls argued" that within China the potential of eating meat with banned additives such as clenbuterol -- and then failing an Olympic drugs test later this month -- "is one they simply cannot risk" (LONDON TIMES, 7/2). REUTERS noted the ban on meat products came from China's Sports Ministry this year and followed a warning from the World Anti-Doping Agency issued last November about contaminated meat in China and Mexico. WADA stated, "WADA's message to athletes competing in these countries remains the same: eat only in restaurants and cafeterias that have been approved by your federation and/or event organizer." One "patriotic pig farmer" in China's eastern Jiangsu province donated three tonnes of untainted pork to his country's athletes (REUTERS, 7/3). In Hong Kong, Laura Zhou noted 2008 Olympics women's judo gold-medalist Tong Wen was stripped of her title and banned for two years after testing positive for clenbuterol in '10, "prompting the authorities to more strictly supervise athletes' diets." It has been widely reported that the Chinese marathon team has been raising chickens at its training centre in Yunnan, while a judo team in Tianjin has raised 20 pigs -- "all seen as efforts to avoid domestic meat products" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 7/3).
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